question on service charge for wardened accomadation

I am writing this in behalf of my mother.

Mum is 60 years old. She is currently on incapacity benefit and higher rate mobility due to a variety of health problems. She recently moved from a council house to a council-owned wardened flat.

Theres a £14 a week service charge to be paid on top of the rent (she is entitled to housing benefit but does pay some) - but Mum was told initially that she wouldn't have to pay this. However, she has since been told that, because she hasn't yet reached state retirement age (which for her is sometime next year at the age of 61) she has to pay this charge.

Would the fact that she is on mobility based benefits change this at all? She can afford the service charge but it does put a strain on her quite restricted resources :)

Any thoughts much appreciated :)

p.s. She has worked all her life until health matters caused her to ´retire´ early so no comments on scrounging please.


  • BigAuntyBigAunty Forumite
    8.3K Posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Some services charges are covered by HB for all HB claimants, regardless of age.
  • melysionmelysion Forumite
    801 Posts
    But not these service charges. These are charged associated with wardened accommodation -the personal alarm system, that sort of thing. :)
  • Simon7685Simon7685 Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    She may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover it but be warned they count DLA as normal income in their calculations irrespective of it being paid for disability. They can however only say no, so it might be worth a try.
  • The charges can be met from the "supporting people" pot if the tenant is eligible- the policy on who qualifies for help is down to the local council. Google "supporting people" and the name of her local council and the eligibility criteria should be available on their website or there should be contact details at least so you can call and ask.

    Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere (please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to another board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email [EMAIL=""][email protected][/EMAIL].
  • edited 6 October 2012 at 2:23PM
    lessonlearnedlessonlearned Forumite
    13.3K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 6 October 2012 at 2:23PM
    I used to be an assistant manager at a sheltered housing complex.

    Whether your mother is eligible for state pension yet or not should be irrelevant. If she meets the criteria for sheltered accommodation then that should be enough.

    Service charges should be covered by Housing Benefit when necessary.

    If her income is insufficient to pay her rent and service charges these should be covered by Housing Benefit. However you do say that HB only covers part of her rent. Are they saying that she has sufficient income to pay the Service Charge. If so you need to double check the figures and to drill down into her finances.

    I would have thought if she is only in receipt of IB then her income would not be over the thresh-hold. DLA is not means tested and should not be part of the financial equation. Is she in receipt of other monies, ie occupational pension, if not hers, then say half of your fathers.

    Assuming that the alarm you are discussing is a fixture in her room and part of a communal system and you are not talking about a personal alarm (ie the kind someone would wear around their neck) then it should be covered by the service charge.

    I suggest you fight this. Adult Social Services should be able to help you or at least point you in the right direction.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Martin and MSE campaign win

April's 20% energy price guarantee hike postponed

MSE News

Childcare budget boost

More support for children from nine months and those on Universal Credit

MSE News

Energy Price Guarantee calculator

How much you'll likely pay from April

MSE Tools