The DWP has messed up with the bedroom tax and specifically with the pre-1996 issue.
1) You have been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit (full or partial) since 1 January 1996 or before;
2) You have been in the same property since 1 January 1996
Then you are exempt from having the bedroom tax imposed upon you.
If this describes your situation then you need to put this in writing to your local council asking them to reconsider your case and stating if they do not you will appeal to the SEC tribunal over this. A brief standard template letter is here along with the detail of this issue for your use.
However, this DWP mess-up is also potentially maladministration by the DWP and I maintain it is further evidence, as if it were needed, that the bedroom tax is a back of a fag packet policy rushed in without forethought to the consequences by the DWP. I have made a reasoned estimate that 40,000 or so households could be affected by the bedroom tax being imposed in error and this equates to 100,000 or so men women and children. That scale of error and the devastating consequences it has meant for families needs redress.
A complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman is called for and the details of that is here but essentially mean (a) You firstly complain directly to DWP and then, (b) write to your MP to have him or her have it referred to the independent Parliamentary Ombudsman.
It is being strongly suggested that the DWP is looking to retrospectively change the regulations which may mean you do NOT get back the bedroom tax you have been deducted in error and you are no longer exempt from the bedroom tax.
We all need to act quickly on this to ensure that does not happen and if it attempted we need the full force of all MPs to seek redress for this. Simply, if there are 40,000 or so cases as I estimate this is a case of a mass injustice and gives a much better chance of the correct remedy than individual complaints by individual tenants. If all your local MPs know of this issue the better chance of success this has of being found to be maladministration and the greater the pressure that can be put on the DWP to do the right thing.
Together with colleagues at my local anti bedroom tax group called Reclaim we ask that if you meet the two conditions above of being in continuous receipt of HB since before 1 January 1996 and have lived in your current property since that time then please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please put PRE 1996 in the subject line and simply include your initials and your post code. We will then alert your MP to this issue and have a much better idea of the numbers affected. Reclaim cannot take on all cases for obvious reasons but we will keep everyone informed of developments.
If you do email Reclaim then you may wish to simple cut and paste the following:
I maintain I have been in continuous receipt of housing benefit since 1 January 1996 and have lived at my current property in all that time. I give my permission for Reclaim to notify my member of parliament on this issue and then contact me with any developments.
My initials are: ___________
My post code is: ___________
Any information sent will be kept in the strictest confidence and in full accordance with the Data Protection Act and its principles.