A woman at severe risk of domestic violence faced eviction from her specially-adapted home because cuts to housing benefits meant she could no longer afford the rent.
A.’s house had been made secure under a “Sanctuary Scheme” to help protect victims of abuse. The house was equipped with a safe room where A. and her son could hide if they were attacked by her dangerous ex-partner.
In 2012, the government changed the level of housing benefit given to people on low incomes, reducing payments for those who had more bedrooms than they strictly needed. Critics of the policy called it the “bedroom tax”.
A.’s benefits were reduced because she had a spare room. She was temporarily able to pay her rent, by applying for special help, but was briefly threatened with eviction in 2015 after her local authority mistakenly refused her application.
A. thought she was being treated unfairly. She took legal action against the government, and her case ended up at the UK’s top court.
The case was joined with other cases brought by people facing similar difficulties because of the “bedroom tax” – including J.D., a mother who lived in a house that was specially designed for her severely disabled daughter.
The UK’s top court dismissed their claims.