New universal credit ‘safeguards' by the DWP
- 27 Aug
The Department for Work and Pensions is increasing its efforts to keep tenant arrears to a minimum once universal credit is implemented.
The DWP has been working closely with housing providers and the National Housing Federation to ensure that rent payments are safeguarded under the new benefits system, reports 24dash.
Labour MP Frank Field say that these ‘safeguards' have been taken one step further. Field claims that official figures from the DWP reveal that the department is making payments directly to landlords for over half of the 70 participants in a ‘pathfinder' pilot. Field said the move was particularly worrying because the pilots have involved only single people and couples with relatively straightforward circumstances.
Latest DWP guidance says: "When a claim for universal credit is made it will be decided if a claimant needs support with budgeting and this may include putting in place an alternative payment arrangement where significant support needs are identified. In these cases DWP staff will consider information from tenants and landlords before taking a decision. This will depend on the claimant's circumstances. When a universal credit claim is made, DWP will work with the claimant and landlord to decide if budgeting support or 'alternative payment arrangement' is required, based on a number of factors. All cases will be looked at on an individual basis. 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. Furthermore, DWP is currently exploring increasing the rate at which deductions can be made. Landlords can phone DWP to request a ‘third party deduction' for rent arrears when they reach the equivalent of two months' rent."
Commenting on the new guidance, a DWP spokesman said: "We discuss budgeting support with ALL claimants of UC. But we also have safeguards in place with clear arrangements where payments for vulnerable people can be made direct to landlords. Where an alternative payment arrangement is appropriate, and we have the necessary details, it will be paid within five days. 78% of claimants from UC pathfinder areas feel confident about their ability to budget with monthly payments, and we have increased budgeting support for claimants under UC. These suggestions are based on a small sample of claimants presenting a skewed picture. The reality is rent arrears aren't new under universal credit and it is inaccurate to suggest otherwise. Recent research shows that around 50% of housing association tenants in England were in arrears before UC was introduced. Furthermore, the National Housing Federation has acknowledged that we have delivered real service improvements with increased support to help people adjust to budgeting and more protection for landlords. With the vast majority of people saying they are coping well with direct payments. Universal credit is already making work pay as we roll it out in a careful and controlled way. It is transforming people's lives in a growing number of areas, including 39 Jobcentres, and we have started taking claims from couples too. By the end of this year, around one in eight Jobcentres will offer universal credit."
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
Image source: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1260785
- 03 May
MANY MAY STRUGGLE AS A RESULT OF CHANGES TO THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM
The study envisages the following issues from the move which is expected to save the taxman £1billion a year by 2021:Chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham said:"This cut...
- 13 Mar
CIH SCOTLAND POINTS OUT ISSUES WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW SINGLE PAYMENT ON UNIVERSAL CREDIT
Following recent warnings from the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee about problems with the new Universal Credit system, CIH Scotland has pointed out some issues with the...
- 23 Nov
THE LHA CAP WILL APPLY TO ALL TENANTS THAT RECEIVE UNIVERSAL CREDIT
These details were stated by the government:Lord Freud announced in a ministerial statement that this would "ensure simplicity and a streamlined process". He also said tenants who are moved from...
- 17 Oct
UNIVERSAL CREDIT SET TO EXPAND IN AREAS SERVED BY KIRKINTILLOCH JOBCENTRE
The beneficiaries of this would have to live within one of these postcodes: G64 4, G66 1, G66 2, G66 3, G66 4, G66 5, G66 7 and G66 8.This entitlement means working age people in these postcodes...
- 25 Aug
AFTERMATH OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT DELAYS
The labour MP also said "the minimum six-week payment period faced by new Universal Credit claimants led to reliance on emergency food parcels, triggered debt and rent arrears, and caused health...
- 25 May
FIRST ERROR AND FRAUD FINDINGS FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT
The department's findings show that underpayments due to official errors were considerably higher than for the older Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) Programme, however, the rate of overpayments was...
- 09 Sep
Universal credit targets defended by Iain Duncan Smith
When asked about the effectiveness of the roll-out of universal credit Mr Duncan Smith said: “Universal credit is now available in more than half of jobcentres across Great Britain and will be...
- 18 Aug
Scottish carers are worse off due to universal credit
Child Poverty Action Group has sent a report to Scottish and UK ministers urging them to amend the universal credit regime to pay closer heed to Scotland’s systems and use devolved power to protect...
- 13 Aug
Universal Credit claimants rise to almost 90,000
Figures by the Department for Work and Pensions have found that 89,357 people were claiming universal credit by 9th July which was a rise of 18% compared to 75,426 on 11th June, reports Inside...
- 13 Aug
Scottish government to revamp universal credit
The Scottish Government has decided it wants to give claimants the choice of having their payments made twice a month rather than just once a month on universal credit, reports Scottish Housing...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 Good organisation from beginning to end. Excellent keynote speaker. Relevant and important topics for discussion which were to everyone's advantage within the supported housing sector. B.H - Stevenage Haven