Disabled people ‘in tears’ after false homelessness threat
Kingston Council has apologised to disabled council house tenants who were wrongly told their housing benefits could be cut.
Letters were sent to 334 tenants on benefits who have at least one spare room telling them they could be made homeless if they did not take a cut or pay more rent.
Disabled residents among the 334, who rely on the extra room for carers to stay in, were not told they should be exempt under the Government changes, due in April 2013.
One disabled man, who asked not to be named, was reduced to tears by the letter.
Former councillor Mary Clark said: "He was in absolute tears. How many others are like this? How many others have got these letters? They will be sitting there absolutely quaking in their shoes.
"These are vulnerable people, disabled residents. You can’t just send letters out like that."
A Kingston Council spokesman said: "As the letter states, recipients may be affected by these changes and are invited to contact the council in order that we can keep them fully informed and assist them in the way that best suits their needs.
“We apologise if any confusion or distress has been caused to individuals.”
Adam Lotun, a disability campaigner from Tolworth, warned that disabled people protected from the changes may not be exempt next year.
He said: "Whether the local authority feels they have made a mistake or say people are exempt I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
"Everyone is going to lose out there is no doubt about that.”
Mr Lotun said disabled people should start calculating if they will be eligible for the new disability benefit, which will begin in April 2013.