The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced the ‘national’ roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) has started, with over 150 jobcentres over the next two months due to handle UC claims. However, it will only be single claimants and couples with no children that are eligible for the scheme. Landlords cannot be paid directly as the scheme combines various benefit payments into one lump sum.
The roll-out sees people in Yorkshire, Tees Valley, London, The Highlands, Thames Valley, and Gloucestershire, able to claim the benefit. A full list can be found here.
Universal Credit replaces: income-based Jobseekers Allowance; income related Employment and Support Allowance; income support; child tax credit; working tax credits; and housing benefits.
The Government claim that UC helps people get back into work sooner, earning more, and making them less likely to fall back into poverty by reducing the amount they claim gradually, as opposed to completely cutting claimants off, depending on how much they make in work.
Landlords are urged to ensure they are aware of any tenants who may need to claim benefits.
The DWP also recently announced 2015/16 discretionary housing payments budget outlining how much local Councils will receive to help residents struggling to meet housing costs.
The overall budget has been cut by 25%. As Universal Credit is rolled out, private tenants, affected by under-occupation penalties or restrictions to their “housing element” caused by limits to “maximum rent”, the benefits cap, non-dependents etc. can apply for DHP funding. The scheme remains the responsibility of councils.