Reposted from the South Yorkshire Times
A benefits claimant has spoken out after she was left hundreds of pounds out of pocket in a tax blunder by the Government.
Beverley Leach, who receives support for health-related problems, is one of thousands of people who have been wrongly charged for the controversial bedroom tax because of an error by the Department of Work and Pensions.
She said Rotherham Council has contacted her and she is set for a refund of more than £700.
The 55-year-old, of Toll Bar, Swinton, said: “There are a lot of people who are still unaware they may be eligible for a refund. People should be told if they are owed something.”
The error affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously since 1996. An oversight by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when drafting the legislation means that the housing benefit regulations dating from 1996 were not updated when the coalition legislated for the bedroom tax.
It is thought as many as 40,000 people – or five per cent of those paying the bedroom tax – could be eligible for a full refund. Around 8,000 families in Rotherham and Barnsley have been paying on average up to £17 a week extra since April. Around 400 of which could get back around £700.
The DWP is working with Rotherham Council to identify residents who may be eligible. Rob Cutts, revenues and benefits manager for the council, said: “The benefits team will write to the customer advising them of their new amount of benefit.”