I'll try to give us much detail as possible.
In Oct 2011, my wife (35 years old) and I (42 years old) moved into a property in Vale of White Horse council area, rented to us by her ex-partner (they were never married). Our landlord and my wife did however have two kids a few years ago, who both now live with us. Our landlord lives in a separate property.
Their older child, who is 6, is severely disabled (she is profoundly autistic) and is receiving DLA (high rate care, lower rate mobility). Their younger child, who is 4, has no disability.
I also have a disability (I have manic depression aka Bipolar I) which prevents me from having a permanent job. I work freelance and as a contractor for short term work. Most of my work has to be from home or telecommute as I am not a driver (people with bipolar who experience 4 or more mood swings per year are not allowed to drive for a 6 month stretch afterwards). I also have two children from a previous relationship. My eldest, who is 12, is also profoundly autistic and has associated learning difficulties. My youngest is 7 and has no disabilities. They stay with my wife and I every other weekend.
Recently, work has almost dried up. I have not had a meaningful contract or freelance role for approaching 3 months. Our financial situation is becoming desperate, with our main worry being our rent.
We are aware that we cannot get housing benefit as our landlord is:
a) The ex-partner of my wife and they once lived at this property together and
b) The children who live there permanently are the landlords children.
We receive (between us) -
1) DLA for their daughter (as described above) and also for me (low rate care component).
2) Working Tax credit
3) Child benefit
4) Carers allowance
5) Child tax credit.
Does anyone know of any benefit, set of circumstances, or have any advice they can offer about easing our situation? Our landlord has been as flexible as he can re: rent but he has financial obligations too.
Thanks in advance for any help.