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Coronavirus: Universal Credit - Housing Costs
Universal Credit - Housing Costs
Already getting Universal Credit?


Someone who is currently in receipt of Universal Credit, and who is liable to pay rent, should already be having any rental liability taken into account when their UC is assessed. 


Already getting Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit?

Someone who is currently in receipt of Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit may be able to stay on those benefits, but could be better off if they claim Universal Credit if eligible – they should seek advice from a Benefits Adviser who will be able to conduct a better off calculation.

If they are not already receiving Council Tax Support they should make a claim as soon as possible from their Local Authority.

If they have school age children they may now be entitled to free school meals. Where children are not attending school due to the Covid-19 outbreak these can be in the form of vouchers - click here.

Not currently getting any means-tested benefits?

As long as they meet the general eligibility criteria for UC (click here) then they can make a claim for it. Whether they are entitled or not, and how much they are entitled to, will depend on their personal circumstances and income.

If they are liable to pay rent then they should have a Housing Costs Element included in their assessment.

Timing of the claim may be an issue if they are due some payments from work - click here.

If they are not already receiving Council Tax Support they should make a claim as soon as possible from their Local Authority.

If they have school age children they may now be entitled to free school meals.


Frequently Asked Questions
My friend, who lives alone, is quite poorly and has been admitted to hospital. He already gets Universal Credit, which includes help towards his rent. He is worried about his rent while he is in hospital – will his Universal Credit still include housing costs while he is away from home?
Yes, he can continue to get help with his rent in his Universal Credit. The rules allow for help with rent to continue for up to six months while he is away from home due to being in hospital as long as he is expecting to return within six months of when he was admitted.
If he is well enough, he should let his Work Coach know that he is in hospital. He might be able to access his online UC account, so he could report the change that way. If not, he could try ringing the UC Helpline.
If he is too poorly to do that, perhaps you or a member of his family could report the situation on his behalf. It would be wise let his landlord know too.

I claim Universal Credit for myself and my two sons, age 12 and 9. We live in a 3 bedroom house and my UC Housing Cost Element is reduced due to the Bedroom Tax. My sons have always had their own bedrooms, but I am just wondering if the Bedroom Tax could be lifted during the Coronavirus outbreak. My younger son has asthma, so he needs to keep his distance from the rest of the family for safety reasons. 
There have been no changes to the Bedroom Tax rules in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic. If you are struggling financially you could contact your Local Authority to see if they could award a Discretionary Housing Payment. There are no guarantees on this, it will depend on the circumstances.

I have a tenant who is self isolating with her daughter  who falls into the high vulnerability group.
As a consequence her son, who is a still at work, has had to move out and is sofa surfing, he needs to claim UC as his income has dropped, should he declare himself as homeless or should he claim as if he is still living at home?
Are they treating people like him who can’t live at their main address due to COVID 19 any differently?

Presumably this is only a temporary measure and he will be back home soon?
If this is the case, when he claims UC he should state his mum's address as his normal address. And mum should have listed him as living in the property.
This would mean he is treated as living there for the period he cannot live there (as long as his overall absence is unlikely to exceed 6 months).
He would therefore be allocated a bedroom under Bedroom Tax / LHA rules.
If he is under 21 then there would be no non-dep deduction, or what the DWP call Housing Costs Contribution, if he is 21 or over then there would be but only £75.15 a month. 

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