|Paula Ray could be forced to leave her home for the first time in 20 years (Picture: SWNS)|
Paula Ray has been house-bound for 20 years because of her agoraphobia – but now she might be forced to leave. Agoraphobia is a severe fear of being in open or public spaces, and it has meant 52-year-old Paula hasn’t set foot outside her front door in two decades.
Her condition is so debilitating that she missed both of her daughters’ weddings, and has never been out with her grandchildren. But now she faces the terrifying prospect of eviction, because she can’t afford to pay the bedroom tax.
|Paula missed her daughter Latoya’s wedding (Picture: SWNS)|
Paula and her husband David, 57, have incurred almost £2,000 in backdated fees for the controversial tax since their daughters moved out of their three-bedroom house in Newton Abbot, Devon.
The mum-of-three claimed she was unaware she had to pay an extra £14 a week for the tax. ‘I look at the same four walls every day, and I have for the past 20 years,’ she said. ‘No one in their right minds would do that by choice.’ She added: ‘I look fine to people, so people don’t understand it, because they can’t see it.’
|Paula and her husband David, who sleeps in the spare room (Picture: SWNS)|
David is also Paula’s full-time carer. She said they use the extra room for him because she gets panic attacks during the night.
‘I told them the room is always in use, but they said it doesn’t make any difference because he’s my carer,’ she said. Teignbridge District said: ‘We understand the sensitivities around this claimant’s case.
‘We are liaising with Teign Housing to ensure that the claimant has the support she needs to continue her payments and rent.’
- Metro, UK