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Today in politics: rent referral and Universal Credit

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

We look at a case study from Shelter outlining the challenges faced by tenants who have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus and news that the DWP is allowing people with existing Government Gateway accounts to  use them to access Universal Credit.

Shelter shares tenants’ story

Shelter has shared a case study of tenants who have been offered a rent deferral by their landlord after publishing figures suggesting 24% of renters have already seen their incomes fall or lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus.

The polling was undertaken by YouGov – and with 23% say losing their job will leave them immediately unable to pay their rent.

The case study in full reads: Emma lives in Manchester with her partner and the rent on their flat is £1,390 a month. 

Both Emma and her partner recently lost their jobs as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak and are now struggling to pay their rent. 

Emma works in tourism and her contract has been ended while Emma’s partner is an outdoor instructor with school groups and his work has completely cancelled.

“Both myself and my partner have now lost our income. 

“The landlord has offered a rent deferral but while we can pay we will, otherwise we will end up in thousands of pounds of debt over the next few months. Even with the deferral we’ll have to pay it back at some point anyway.

“Nobody knows when we will be able to earn again, so we are stuck.  We have just got to pare everything back and keep our heads above water if we can. I have applied for UC however the first payment isn’t available until May 13, and even then, I don’t know if it will be enough to keep paying our rent.”

Universal Credit applicants can now use existing government accounts

People applying for Universal Credit will now be able to use their existing Government Gateway account to confirm their identity, helping to speed up their claim.

The move is expected to help thousands of claimants applying for the benefit and will be available to those who have used the Government Gateway in the last 12 months to access their Personal Tax Accounts, including to check their tax credits, send a personal tax return, or check their state pension.

Others applying for the benefit can continue to confirm their identity using GOV.UK Verify.

The department is acting to streamline processes where possible after receiving more than 1.4 million claims since 16th March 2020, as well as urgently redeploying 10,000 staff with a further 5,000 being recruited to aid efforts.

As people apply for Universal Credit, they will have the option to submit their Government Gateway credentials which the department will use to progress their claim.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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