Press release

Universal Credit support boost for social landlords

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A support pack has been designed to give social landlords practical advice on how to ensure their tenants are prepared for Universal Credit.

A package of guidance for social landlords to help them prepare themselves and their tenants for Universal Credit has gone live today (13 November 2014).

The support pack has been designed to give social landlords practical advice on how to ensure their tenants are prepared for the new benefit.

Universal Credit brings together 6 benefits and tax credits into 1 monthly payment, helping people to get into work quicker and ensuring that work pays. It closely mirrors the world of work, encouraging financial responsibility and prepares people so that they do not suffer a shock when they move from benefit payments. A key feature is that claimants will receive their housing element as part of their monthly payment and are responsible for paying their landlord themselves.

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform said:

Social landlords have been playing a vital role in welfare reform and supporting tenants who are already receiving Universal Credit. There is great work happening in the sector.

Universal Credit is now available in 1 in 10 Jobcentres and will be in almost 100 by Christmas, with national roll-out beginning early next year – so now is the ideal time to boost preparation activity.

For the first time many tenants will be paid their Housing Benefit directly and I would encourage landlords to think about identifying tenants who need support to prepare for this, and put those who are ready onto a direct payment early.

Over 36,000 people have already made a Universal Credit claim and early findings show that claimants are managing money well.

Work coaches are being trained to assess a claimant’s financial capability and will refer them to personal budgeting support where appropriate.

The amount that can be deducted from a claimant’s Universal Credit if they fail to pay their rent, has been increased from 5% to an amount of up to 20% of the Universal Credit standard allowance, which will ensure claimants are back on track with payments quicker. The minimum amount that will be deducted is 10%.

Communities Minister Kris Hopkins said:

Universal Credit helps claimants and their families to become more independent through simplifying the welfare system. I welcome this initiative to help social landlords and tenants prepare for Universal Credit.

I’ve been impressed by the work I’ve seen that social landlords do in supporting their tenants and it’s clear to me they have a vital role to play in helping them to make this change. A large number of social housing tenants will over time move onto Universal Credit so I would encourage landlords to get involved.

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