The Housing Element of Universal Credit.

Today Welfare Benefits Adviser Lorraine Moss writes in the Havering Daily:

You can apply for help with Housing costs when you are in receipt of Universal Credit;

What you can get:

You can get help paying for your housing if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. This is called your housing payment.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Your housing payment can help you pay:

your rent to a private landlord

your rent and some service charges if you rent from a housing association or local authority, for example council housing

interest payments on your mortgage and some service charges if you or your partner own the property you live in

Once you’ve started claiming you need to report any changes in your circumstances. If you do not, your benefits may stop.

If you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

You can apply for Universal Credit to help with living costs. Whether it can help with housing costs depends on your accommodation and how it supports you.

You can apply for Universal Credit to help with housing costs if both apply:

you live in supported or sheltered housing

you’re not getting ‘care, support or supervision’ through your housing

You cannot get Universal Credit to help with housing costs if any of the following apply:

you’re living in supported or sheltered housing (such as a hostel) which provides you with ‘care, support or supervision’

you’re living in temporary accommodation, such as a B&B arranged by your council

you’re living in a refuge for survivors of domestic abuse

Apply for Housing Benefit instead.

Other help with housing costs

You can apply for help with financial difficulties from your main Universal Credit payment.

(source https://www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit )

Social Housing (council/Housing Associations)

The amount that you would receive is usually the full amount of your rent. However, there are some exceptions; 

If your household includes someone who is 21 or older

Your housing payment will usually be reduced if you live with someone who is aged 21 or older and not your partner.

Your payment will not be reduced if you’re any of the following:● getting the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate● getting the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)● getting Attendance Allowance● getting Armed Forces Independence Payment● registered as blind

It also will not be reduced if the person aged 21 or older is any of the following:● getting Pension Credit● getting the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate● getting the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)● getting Attendance Allowance● getting Armed Forces Independence Payment● getting Carer’s Allowance● responsible for a child under 5● a member of the armed forces away on operations, and is your child or step-child● your sub-tenant, lodger or boarder● a prisoner

If you pay rent on 2 homes

You can get a housing payment if you’re paying rent on 2 homes for any of the following reasons:● the housing authority has housed your family in 2 properties because your family is large● a family member moved out because of fear of violence or abuse, is paying rent somewhere else, and intends to come back● you’ve started renting a new home with a disabled family member but it has not been adapted to their needs yet

If you have more rooms than your household needs

Your Universal Credit housing payment can be reduced if you have more rooms than you need. This is called ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.

Your payment will be reduced:● by 14% if you have 1 spare bedroom● by 25% if you have 2 or more spare bedrooms

Source https://www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit/renting-from-local-authority-or-housing-association

Renting From a Private Landlord

If you are renting from a private Landlord, your Housing Element will be calculated at the rate you are eligible for using The Local Housing Allowance.  Please see https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx.  This shows you the rate that Havering pays and also has a useful calculator so you can see the amount that would be applicable to you.  If you are under 35, you can only claim for the shared accommodation rate.  There are exceptions to this rule, please see https://www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit/renting-from-private-landlord.  It is important to remember that you the rate that you receive for the Housing Element is determined by the amount of bedrooms that you are eligible for, not for how many you actually have.  For example if you are a couple living in a 3 bedroomed property, you would only receive the Local Housing Allowance rate for a one bedroomed property.  You would also face the same reductions for non-dependents as you would if you were living in a Council or Housing Association Property.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If the Housing Element of Universal Credit does not cover all of your rent, you can apply to Havering Council for a Discretionary housing Payment.  Please see https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20012/housing_benefit_and_council_tax_support/463/money_advice_and_benefits_help.  There is a strict criteria.  Please see https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/discretionary_housing_payments_dhp#:~:text=A%20discretionary%20housing%20payment%20%28DHP%29%20is%20an%20extra,universal%20credit%

In next weeks article, I will be looking at Support for Mortgage Interest and shared ownership. 

The Havering Daily