Under the powers given to it under the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Parliament are amending the UC Regulations which will give some UC claimants flexibility with their payments.
The Universal Credit (Claims and Payments) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
Who is affected by these changes?
These new rules will only apply to claims:
- Made under the 'Full'/Digital UC service,
- On or after 4th October 2017,
- by a 'Scottish applicant'.
A 'Scottish applicant' is - 'a person applying for Universal Credit, or awarded Universal Credit, who resides in Scotland (and any one of the members of a couple living in Scotland who jointly make a claim for, or have been awarded, Universal Credit).'
What do these rules change?
A claimant affected by these new rules will be able to request:
- Direct payment of their Housing Costs Element to their landlord*, and/or
- A more flexible payment cycle ie twice a month (in arrears)~.
The claimant will NOT need to prove 'vulnerability' nor be in rent arrears.
The DWP will only be able to refuse the request if they believe it to be 'unreasonable' and if they do they must inform the claimant of their decision and the reason for it. As this is a decision the claimant will have the right to challenge it through to appeal.
* the amount paid to the landlord can be less than the Housing Costs Element where the claimant's award is less than this amount.
~ the payment following the DWP agreement to this request will be half of the amount the claimant is due to be paid - with the remaining half being paid two weeks later.
Find the answers to these questions here:
How will a claimant know about this change in the rules?
So should we bother with completing the UC47 for our tenants who are two months in arrears?
What if the payment due to the claimant is less than their Housing Costs Element?
We have several tenants who are currently in receipt of Universal Credit under the 'Full'/Digital service - will they not be able to ask for direct payments to their landlord after 4th October 2017 ??
Our area is due to go 'Digital' after 4th October 2017 - we understand that anyone on the exiting 'Live' service will be transferred over - will they then be able to request direct payment to their landlord in line with these new rules?