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Rent Issues: Supported Housing - On Universal Credit?
KEY FACTS:

  • Special rules exist for Housing Benefit claimants living in 'specified accommodation' who are on Universal Credit:

    • Any Housing Benefit they receive on the 'specified accommodation' will not be classed as 'welfare' for the Benefit Cap.
    • Although they are on Universal Credit (or will need to move onto it if they are of working age and claiming one of the benefits it is replacing), they will continue to receive help with their rent from Housing Benefit. It is the Universal Credit Transitional Regulations 2014 that state that 'Entitlement to universal credit does not preclude the claimant from entitlement to housing benefit in respect of specified accommodation' - para 5(2)(a).

  • But not all claimants living in supported housing will be seen as living in 'specified accommodation' - click here for definition.

  • It is not a particular scheme’s generic characteristics that count, but the person’s personal circumstances eg how much support they actually receive, why they entered the accommodation, etc. This means that it is quite possible for two HB claimants living in the same ‘supported housing’ scheme to be regarded as living in different types of accommodation ie one classed as living in 'specified accommodation' and the other not.

Problems getting HB in specified accommodation?
We are aware of situations where Universal Credit claimants living in supported housing are struggling to get any help with their rent, because whereas the DWP feel that they should be receiving HB,  the HB Office is either not aware that the claimant is living in 'specified accommodation' or has not accepted that they are, or thinks that because they are on Universal Credit they are not allowed to get Housing Benefit.

It is the Universal Credit Transitional Regulations 2014 that state: "Entitlement to Universal Credit does not preclude the claimant from entitlement to housing benefit in respect of specified accommodation" - para 5(2)(a).

In terms of getting rent covered there are implications for both the claimant and the landlord depending on whether UC or HB support the rent.


Is the claimant living in 'specified accommodation'?

Note that it is not the supported housing scheme as a whole that is deemed as 'specified accommodation' - each case will be looked at on an individual basis and therefore the: level of care, support or supervision being provided, whether the claimant was 'admitted in order to meet a need for care, support or supervision' etc must be considered.

Who decides?

When deciding whether or not they can pay housing costs, the DWP should follow the LA's determination that the accommodation is, or isn't specified - more here.

Letters to use to get HB for specified accommodation.

Where a UC claimant claims Housing Benefit for their housing costs, because they believe they live in specified accommodation, they may find it useful to attach Standard Letter CP35 to their claim, supporting their contention that their accommodation is specified. 

If it is obvious that the claimant is living in 'specified accommodation' but their claim for HB has been refused, they should appeal the HB Office's decision that it isn't specified accommodation. This is a complex matter and the arguments will vary according to the situation so it is not appropriate to have a standard letter- please contact us for advice.

If a claimant's HB has been refused on the basis that it is not specified accommodation, but DWP believe it is, so are not paying the housing costs in UC, the claimant should contact the LA asking them to determine whether or not it is specified accommodation and to inform DWP - standard letter CP36.

For letters to the DWP to get UC housing costs where the DWP believe the claimant is living in specified accommodation when the are not, click here.




'
 HB Regulation (Reg 75H) define this as:

“domestic violence” means any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling behaviour, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse, including but not limited to - 

(a) psychological abuse;
(b) physical abuse;
(c) sexual abuse;
(d) emotional abuse;
(e) financial abuse,

regardless of the gender or sexuality of the victim;  

“coercive behaviour” means an act of assault, humiliation or intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim;

“controlling behaviour” means an act designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance or escape or regulating their everyday behaviour;






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HB on 2 homes

Related Links

 Temporary absence- fleeing violence
 Benefits for disabled
 Young people
 How HB is calculated


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