A DORSET disability charity has hit out at government reforms on bedroom tax and spare room subsidy, saying they will cause financial hardship to vulnerable people.

Disability Wessex, the advice service of Diverse Abilities Plus, says the reforms to the support provided for housing costs and the household benefit cap, including the social sector size criteria (SSSC), are affecting those with disabilities, who were not the originally intended targets and are unlikely to be able to change their circumstance without government help.

Nikki Haswell, advice manager at Disability Wessex, said: “The SSSC is having a particular impact on people with disabilities who have adapted homes or need a room to accommodate a support worker and we witness the distress caused by the welfare reforms brought in 2012 on an almost daily basis.

“Last year we supported 94 people with a disability at their appeal hearings and are proud to say that 71 per cent were successful, but nevertheless it is very sad to see that some are not when the reforms are hitting genuinely sick and disabled people.”

A report published by the Work and Pensions Committee on April 2 recommends that anyone living in a home that has been significantly adapted for them should be exempt from the SSSC.

The report further urges the government to exempt all households that contain a person in receipt of higher level disability benefits (DLA or PIP) from the SSSC.

Nikki added: “The welfare changes are punishing some of the most vulnerable people in our society who are genuinely sick and disabled. The report could be a positive way forward and I hope the government take on board the report’s recommendations to support those with disabilities.”

To find out more visit parliament.uk or call Nikki Haswell, advice service manager on 07880 197332 or 01202 718266.