Universal Credit and the impact on housing associations and their tenants

UCProgFrontUpdateWith research showing that the average level of arrears for Universal Credit claimants is £770, it is crucial that housing providers and their tenants are ready for it.

Intended to replace six current benefits (including Housing Benefit), Universal Credit is currently in place across every local authority in Scotland. At present, however, in most local authority areas it affects a limited number of claimants in very specific circumstances. But this is set to change.

Universal Credit has been rolled out using a “test and learn” approach. This has meant that initially it has been restricted to the simplest of claims for the Department for Work and Pensions to process i.e. single people, with no children, no disabilities and no other factors which might significantly complicate their claim.

Steven McAvoy, welfare rights adviser and trainer with SHARE, said: “As the roll out progresses, however, these limitations are being lifted area by area. Once lifted, a new claim for any of the six benefits which Universal Credit is intended to cover is no longer possible for the vast majority of claimants.

“This phased approach will mean that there will be a complex mixture of current benefits and the new system operating alongside each other with entitlements depending on when and where claims are made.”

As it is widely recognised that Universal Credit is leading to both a cut in the rates of entitlement and a rise in the level of tent arrears, it is crucial that social housing providers are up to date with the latest information.

Details on when Universal Credit will be fully extended in your area can be found HERE.

Alan Ferguson, SHARE’s director, said: “Universal Credit will have an impact on housing associations and co-operatives as well as their tenants and it is important to be looking at how any issues arising can be mitigated.”

SHARE are running an event on 25th October where delegates will hear from speaker from DWP and Scottish Government as well as the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops. Workshops provide an opportunity to hear direct from key members of staff. You can find out more about the event and book your place direct from the SHARE website HERE.

http://www.almos.org.uk/news_docs.php?subtypeid=24 pause for thought, measuring the impact of welfare reform

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