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Romford hero explains his ‘bedroom tax’ loophole that could cost government £26m

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:49 17 January 2014

Peter Baker scrolling through reams of information on  the bedroom tax

Peter Baker scrolling through reams of information on the bedroom tax

Archant

In December, I suggested that council and housing association tenants getting housing benefit for the same home since 1996 are exempt from the bedroom tax.

Last week ministers acknowledged that my analysis is correct. Councils are now indentifying tenants eligible for refunds.

The refund is available to people whose housing benefit is reduced by the bedroom tax and who have been on housing benefit for the same home since January 1996 without a break. One break of up to four weeks is ignored and a longer break is ignored if you started work after being long term sick and then became sick again within 52 weeks.

In some cases, the exemption can be passed from one person to another.

Some councils are finding that their records as far back as 1996 are not easy to search and in some cases have been destroyed completely. So if you think you qualify for the exemption contact the council’s benefits department.

If the council does not agree that you qualify, you can appeal as long as the council receives it within 13 months of the original bedroom tax decision last year. For most people this will be around the end of March so there is still time.

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