Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Newsletters: May 2021



May 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our latest newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful welfare benefit information. 

In this issue find out more about:

  • Our Conference - Tuesday 25th May
  • Opportunities and warnings for students - as the summer vacation approaches
  • Transitional SDP Element - make the most of the rules
  • Less than 50 days to apply to EUSS - DWP & HMRC sending letters to over 100,000 eligible EEA Nationals who will miss out on their benefit entitlement if they don't apply on time.
  • Breathing Space Scheme - and deductions from benefits 
  • Update on deductions from UC for Court Fines
  • EU Settlement Scheme- deadline for applications approaching
  • Forthcoming Workshops - for June
  • Your chance to WIN £50 for your local FOOD BANK and a place on the Conference as well as a box of chocolates for you!

Conference 2021....

Join us on Tuesday 25th May 2021 for a day packed full of inspiring speakers and informative Workshops.

Places are limited - and with the cost being just £145+vat for a great day - we expect it to fill up fast.

"Last year’s was really good – I did a fair bit of online training last year and in all honesty, most of it was a waste of time and money but HS got it spot on."

"Very informative, would definitely recommend the day to anyone
working in this field. Taking away lots of useful
information to share with staff."

Great Speakers | Informative Workshops | Open Forum | Quiz

Click here for more information and book a place...
Opportunities and warnings for students 

With the summer vacation approaching - here are some key welfare benefit points for students to note:

Full time student who can claim Universal Credit – summer vacation

Student income is taken into account for UC over the academic year but not the summer vacation. This is because student finance is not intended to cover the summer vacation period.

For those students who are eligible to claim Universal Credit (most are not) whose term time income is too high to receive an award of UC, this may present a window of opportunity.

Student income (except for certain types that are disregarded) is counted as unearned income for UC from the start of the Monthly Assessment Period (MAP) in which the course / academic year starts, up to the MAP before the MAP in which the summer vacation starts (or course finishes).

So, there could be two, three or four Monthly Assessment Periods in the summer when no student income is taken into account and their chances of being awarded UC are higher.

For example, Jade is a full-time student with two children. She is on the second year of a three-year degree course. The current academic year ends on Friday 23rd June. Her third and final academic year starts on 27th September.

Jade made a claim for UC last October but this was refused – her income was too high. But she could make a new claim before her academic year has finished and receive an award.

If she claimed UC on 25th May her MAPs would run from 25th of one month to the 24th of the next, and for the MAPs 25th May – 24th June,  25th June – 24th July, 25th July – 24th August and 25th August – 24th September, no student income is counted (her student income is spread over the other eight MAPs of a 12 month period).

Students on Child Tax Credit – summer vacation

During the summer vacation some students with children will see a drop in their income as this is a period not normally covered by student finance. If they feel that Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit is not enough to manage on, they might be tempted claim Universal Credit instead.

But they might end up worse off over the whole year if they do this.  Most student income is disregarded for Tax Credits, whereas most student income is counted for Universal Credit.

This is a complex area to advise on and every case is different. Some students will have rent to pay – if they receive some Housing Benefit during term time, this could increase during the summer. If they are not entitled to HB during term time, they cannot make a new claim for HB during the summer (except if they are in ‘temporary’ or ‘specified’ accommodation). Also, any comparison with UC would need to take account of the end of the £20 pw Coronavirus uplift from October.

So, claimants should get a benefit check before claiming UC – as it is not possible to return to Tax Credits once a UC claim has been made.

What about A level (or equivalent) students who are finishing their courses? When do their parents / carers stop getting benefits for them? 
Find out more in our Hot Topic!

Click here for the Hot Topic
Making the most of the Transitional SDP Element rules
When someone on Old Style ESA, Old Style JSA or Income Support has a change in their circumstances which:
  • triggers the need for them to claim Universal Credit
  • and
  • triggers eligibility for the Severe Disability Premium in a IR-ESA / IB-JSA / IS award
then it is worth checking if there is an opportunity to gain extra UC by delaying the UC claim by one week...
Our new Hot Topic explores when this could be possible.
We will be discussing this topic and different ways to maximise UC for certain claimants in our Proactive Action and Missing (back) Payments conference workshops.
Click here for our Hot Topic
Want to know more?

Book onto the:

Preventing UC Problems:
Proactive action

UC: The missing (back) payments

at our forthcoming Conference
click here to find out more...
Less than
50 days
to apply to
the EUSS

The DWP and HMRC will be issuing letters to people who, based on a data matching exercise with the Home Office, they believe may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The data matching exercise has identified EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their eligible family members who are claiming benefits but have yet to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The letters will be issued on or around the 14th May, 21st May and the 28th May and will include guidance on who should apply, how to do so, and support available to assist applications. It is estimated that between 100,00 to 200,000 Universal Credit claimants will receive one of these letters. HMRC will also be issuing text messages on EUSS to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in late May. 

The deadline to apply to the EUSS is fast approaching - and is a key area for our May Conference!
Our speakers from the EU Rights & Brexit Hub will be telling us about how they help advisers to resolve the problems EEA Nationals are facing. We also have a workshop all about the financial risks to landlords where an eligible EEA National fails to apply to the EUSS by the deadline. 

 EU Settlement Scheme
From 1st July 2021 EEA Nationals (and their non EEA family members) will no longer be able to rely on their previous rights to live, work and study in the UK unless they have been granted either Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme or applied to the scheme in time and are awaiting a decision.
Click here for the down-loadable leaflet
Want to know more?

Book onto the:

Brexit changes from 1st July –
Risks for rental income

at our forthcoming Conference
click here to find out more...

Breathing Space Scheme

The Debt Respite Scheme opened on 4th May 2021 and aims to provide a ‘breathing space’ for those with problem debts in England and Wales. 

We at Housing Systems are not debt advisers, so we cannot advise about someone's eligibility for the scheme. We have some very basic information here, with links to the guidance and other sources of information. 

How could the scheme affect Third Party Deductions from benefits?

Sometimes a creditor applies to the DWP to have deductions for a debt taken from a claimant's award and paid to them - called Third Party Deductions.

Universal Credit Third Party Deductions (and UC Advances) are currently excluded from the Breathing Space scheme; we understand that the intention is that these will be included once the IT systems have been upgraded to allow for this. Up until then where a UC claimant is part of the scheme, whilst some other deductions may stop, any TPD's or Advance Payment repayments will continue.

But TPDs from Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance will be suspended for the duration that the claimant falls under the scheme.

What about recovery of benefit overpayments?

These could also stop for those claimants who fall under the scheme - including the recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments.

So if a Housing Benefit award was being reduced to recover an HB overpayment, direct Housing Benefit payments to the landlord may increase during the period that any overpayment recovery has been suspended under the scheme. But they will reduce again once the period of the scheme has been completed.

Deductions for Court Fines - Update

In our last newsletter we shared the news that the High Court had ruled the DWP's policy of automatically deducting the maximum possible amount from Universal Credit for fines and its failure to use discretion was unlawful.

DWP guidance has recently been updated. It now indicates that the 5% deduction rate will be automatically applied.

The Regulations have not been amended though - they still allow for a deduction between 5% of the claimant's Standard Allowance and £108.35 a month

Some claimants could have deductions for fines that are more than 5% of the Standard Allowance though - ie deductions that were set before the DWP guidance changed. Anyone who is struggling financially can ask the DWP Debt Management Dept to consider a lower deduction rate. They will need to provide details of their income and expenditure - but we hope the new guidance would help to get the deductions reduced.

Click here to find out more...
Can't make the Conference?

Book onto one of our Workshops instead:

Welfare Benefit Update
Thurs 3rd June am    

UC Housing Costs Element: The Problem Areas
Tues 8th June pm

EEA Nationals and UC: Impact of Brexit
Blended Learning: Workshop - Wed 9th June pm 

click here to find out more...

Your chance to
win £50 for your local food bank and a place at our
May Conference!

Every month we give you the chance to win £50 for your local food bank.  

Congratulations to Gavin from Fife Housing Group who won our April quiz! A £50 donation is on its way to Dunfermline food bank.

This month we have an extra prize -
 a free place at our Conference on 25th May!

Why not enter our competition and possibly win a donation for your local food bank? The winner will be selected at random and can nominate a food bank of their choice to receive a £50 donation from us, and they will receive a box of chocolates for themselves.

To enter this month's competition, just email your entry to us by this Friday 21st May 2021 for your chance to win.

This month's competition question:

Mel was working full time, but the company has shut down and she has lost her job.
She made a claim for Universal Credit after she received her final payment from work. 
She now has no other income apart from Child Benefit.
She is single and her children are 8 and 6.

Question: When is the best time for Mel to apply for free school meals?

A: Immediately - within her first UC Monthly Assessment Period
B: When her second UC Monthly Assessment Period starts

Find the answer on this page: click here

And email your entry to: info@housingsystems.co.uk
Want to know more about:

Our Online Training?

We have Workshops, E-Learning courses and Blended Learning courses - all written and presented by experts, designed especially for people supporting social housing tenants.
Click here for more info.

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