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Universal Credit roll out December 2017

There are some major changes in the borough coming into effect from 6th December 2017. The Government is rolling out Universal Credit to replace the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance

The roll out of Universal Credit will mean that all working age people making a new claim for benefits will automatically receive this benefit. There are some exceptions where there are two or more children in the household or for Supported accommodation. More information on Universal Credit can be found at gov.uk.

If you are awarded Universal Credit you will receive an allowance for your living expenses and housing costs where applicable. This is normally paid one month in arrears so you should take steps to ensure that you are able to discharge your rent liability. In some circumstances it may be possible for your Landlord to receive housing costs direct. 

The Money Advice Service has a guide to help you get to grips with paying your rent  including a budget planner and tips on how to manage your money. Those residents needing budgeting support will be referred to the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB).  The Council has an arrangement in place with the CAB to provide personal budgeting support. The CAB are based in the council offices at Campus East and at Hatfield (Housing Office) every week day

Further information on the Universal Credit roll out

Personal Budgeting Support

Personal Budgeting Support (PBS) under full service remains the same.  It is about helping claimants adapt to 3 key changes:

  • a single household payment
  • being paid monthly and
  • rent paid directly to the claimant instead of to the Landlord

There are 2 elements to Personal Budgeting Support:

  •  Money Advice
  •  Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA)

There is also a Universal Credit personal planner available online to help claimants identify any changes they may need to make in order to manage their Universal Credit claim.

Detailed information can be found by selecting Universal Credit personal budgeting support and alternative payment arrangements guidance.

The Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) will be able to offer advice on budgeting.

Managed payments to Landlord

We expect most Universal Credit claimants will receive the single monthly payment, taking responsibility for paying their own household bills including their rent on time.

However, we recognise that some claimants will need extra support and so alternative payment arrangements including a managed payment of the UC housing cost to the landlord can be considered in some cases to help protect tenancies.  

Managed payments will be considered on a case-by-case basis and can be requested by landlords as well as claimants. They can be considered on request from the start of the claim or during the claim if the claimant has accumulated rent arrears which will put their tenancy at risk.

What are the key elements to consider

When a claimant has accumulated one month's rent arrears due to persistent underpayment, we will review the financial support they need and, if requested by the claimant or landlord, will consider making managed payments to their landlord if appropriate.

If a claimant has accrued two month's rent arrears, we will, if requested by the landlord, pay the UC housing costs direct to the landlord and take steps to recover the rent arrears through deductions from their remaining UC payment.

How to request a managed payment

Landlords can use the UC47 form on gov.uk to apply for a managed payment of the housing costs and recovery of arrears.

The information they will need to supply includes

  • tenants name, address, and if known their date of birth and National Insurance number
  • current tenancy agreement including
  • proof of the rent arrears which must include the amount of rent outstanding and the amount of rent due each calendar month
  • the landlord's contact details - their name and address plus their bank/ building society account number and sort code for the payments.
  • any reference number / transaction ID for that tenant
  • the social landlords DWP creditor reference number 

Once UC receives this information they will decide whether or not a managed payment is appropriate and inform both the landlord and claimant.

The claimant will also be offered Personal Budgeting Support.

Frequently asked questions

Will a claimant have a managed payment to their landlord from the start of their claim, if they are already in rent arrears  when they make a claim for Universal Credit. 

It will depend on the claimant's level of arrears and their particular circumstances. When a Universal Credit claim is made, UC will offer the claimant Personal Budgeting Support and through this process decide if a managed payment to the landlord is needed. All cases will be looked at on an individual basis.

Can landlords contact UC to ask for a managed payment from the start due to the claimant having significant rent arrears?

Yes, Landlords can contact UC as stated in an earlier slide to request a managed payment from the start. Once the necessary information is received the UC agent will then decide if a managed payment is appropriate and inform the landlord and claimant.

Can rent arrears be recovered from claimants through a deduction to their Universal Credit? 

Yes, arrears of rent and service charges for the property the tenant is currently living in are included in the list of deductions that can be made from a Universal Credit payment.     

What budgeting support will be available and how do claimants access this?

Personal budgeting support will be offered to anyone claiming Universal Credit. Claimants needing help with monthly budgeting will be identified at their first Universal Credit appointment with the Jobcentre and will be referred for personal budgeting support

Many claimants will be able to help themselves through the online budgeting support services that are already available, and we will help people who have a clear need for more intensive support.

Money advice will be offered at a national and local level, and will include a mix of online, phone and face to face services.

Will managed payments be reviewed?

Yes, all managed payment will be subject to a review. The UC agent will decide the review period taking into account the claimant's particular circumstances and level of rent arrears. At the review, they will decide if the claimant is now capable of managing the standard monthly payment.

When would a managed payment not be considered appropriate?

A managed payment is not considered appropriate if there is no financial risk to the claimant or their family and/or any rent arrears are being satisfactorily managed.

 

 

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