Universal Credit: Housing:Written question - HL4741

Asked on: 17 January 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether Alternative Payment arrangements to cover some of a Universal Credit claimant's housing costs, together with a local authority's discretionary housing payments for any shortfall, are working satisfactorily.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 30 January 2017

The Department works closely with Local Authorities to ensure tenants are able to meet their housing costs. Where it is in a claimant’s best interests to have their housing costs paid direct to the landlord, for example because they have difficulty budgeting or have problems with arrears, an alternative payment arrangement can be put in place. This does not change the overall amount of the Universal Credit award, simply how it is paid.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) can be made to people who are in receipt of either Housing Benefit or a Universal Credit award that includes an amount for housing costs and who have difficulty meeting their rent commitments. These payments are very flexible and are made at the discretion of the Local Authority (LA) where they consider that further financial assistance towards housing costs are required. Universal Credit claimants who meet the eligibility criteria are considered for a DHP award in the same way as anyone else.

DWP does not see any reason why Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be paid to Universal Credit claimants who have Managed Payments to their Landlord in place.

However, if a Local Authority decides not to accept an application for DHP on the grounds that a managed payment to the landlord is in place, guidance is clear that DWP can, in agreement with the claimant, remove that arrangement to allow the application to be made.

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