Domestic Violence Refuges are exempt from Direct Benefit Payments

  • Iain Duncan Smith says refuges for victims of domestic violence are to be exempt from rules covering the direct payment of housing benefit.

    Sad SilhouetteSpeaking in the House of Commons, the work and pensions secretary clarified some of the questions on the new housing; he said welfare payments designed to cover housing costs will continue to go direct to refuges under universal credit.

    Under universal credit, combining benefits in to one single payment, the housing element of the payment will go straight to tenants. Under the current system many tenants have their housing benefit paid to their landlord.

    Charity Women's Aid raised concerns about universal credit in August, and called for housing benefit payments to go direct to refuges for victims of domestic violence.

    Mr Duncan Smith said:

    Anybody suffering domestic violence will immediately be taken through the system and the money will be paid directly.

    The refuges will get their money and there will be no hesitation. That is an absolutely critical area and it will be provided for completely by universal credit.

    Duncan Smith was also quizzed on proposals to restrict housing benefit payments for under 25s, to which he refused to say if this would be implemented, but did confirm that it would not be removed from those already on housing benefit, and that also there would be some people who would be excluded from such a blanket ban on benefits for under 25's

    He did however reassure landlords who are concerned that the changes to the way housing benefit is paid could result in an increase in arrears:

    We will intervene early to make sure that does not happen, which should help landlords understand that we will support them.

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Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful.  I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9.  In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder." M.P. - Adref Ltd

 

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