Universal Credit [UC]

1. Universal Credit is replacing a number of means-tested benefits for working-age claimants including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support (IS), Tax Credits and Housing Benefit (HB).

2. UC (which also includes a housing costs element) is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). HB is administered by local authorities.

Migration onto UC

Natural migration onto UC

3. Currently, all new claimants in UC areas apply to the DWP for UC, and existing claimants move onto UC if they have a change of circumstance. This is known as natural migration.

Managed migration onto UC

4. Where existing claimants have no change of circumstances, they will be moved over to UC in a phased process – known as managed migration. This is expected to run from 2019 to 2022.

UC claimants and housing costs – the general rule

Normally UC claimants cannot claim HB
5. A working age claimant entitled to UC is not also entitled to HB in respect of the same period.1Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014/ 1230 reg 5(1)(b)]

6. Since UC claimants lack entitlement to HB, it follows that they cannot make a claim for HB anywhere.2Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014/1230 reg. 6(1),(8)

Full-service areas
7. This general rule is affirmed for full-service areas.  UC claimants may not make HB claims in full-service areas either.3Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 23 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions) Order 2015/634 art. 7(1),(3)

UC claimant in supported housing identified as specified accommodation can claim both UC and HB 

8.  But entitlement to UC does not preclude a claimant from entitlement to HB in respect of supported housing identified as specified accommodation by the benefit decision-maker.4Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014/ 1230 reg 5(2)(a)] In other words, residents in such accommodation may be in receipt of both: 

  1. UC (to cover the costs of day-to-day living) and
  2. HB (in relation to their housing costs).

9. Residents in specified accommodation must not be awarded a UC housing element to help them live in specified accommodation.5Universal Credit Regulations Sch 1 paras 3(h) and 3A Therefore, residents in specified accommodation who are entitled to UC to cover the costs of daily living  apply for HB to obtain means-tested assistance with their housing costs.

Pathways for UC claimants in specified accommodation requiring help with housing costs

10. The following diagrams show the different administrative pathways that need to be taken by UC claimants in specified accommodation if they are to receive HB in respect of their housing costs.6Based on DWP Response to a Freedom of Information Request on 18 April 2018 

11. The three pathways are for: 

  1. Existing UC claimants in Social Rented Sector Housing, 
  2. Existing UC claimants in Private Rented Sector Housing, and
  3. New UC claimants in Social or Private Rented Sector Housing.

12. Each pathway relates to UC claimants who are by definition of working age and are occupying specified accommodation. Therefore, it is important to remember that the following diagrams do not refer to “Social Rented Sector Housing” or “Private Rented Sector Housing” in the widest sense but, rather, more narrowly to sub-sets of specified accommodation.

Pathway 1: Existing UC claimants (Social Rented Sector Housing)

Claimant declares housing costs to DWP
[Not supported by viewer]
DWP issue a rent verification form to social landlord for completion
[Not supported by viewer]
  Landlord indicates on form that accommodation is specified accommodation
[Not supported by viewer]

UC claimant in specified accommodation in 
Social Rented Sector Housing
[Not supported by viewer]
On return of form DWP calculates housing costs 

[Not supported by viewer]
Case Manager updates UC to show claimant is in specified accommodation
[Not supported by viewer]
Claimant's benefit statement confirms UC will not pay housing costs
[Not supported by viewer]
Claimant receives HB for
housing costs

[Not supported by viewer]

Pathway 2: Existing UC claimants (Private Rented Sector Housing)

Claimant declares to DWP they are
 in Private Rented Housing
[Not supported by viewer]
DWP ask claimant to submit evidence of their housing costs to local Jobcentre
[Not supported by viewer]
At Jobcentre Work Coach clarifies  circumstances of claimant's accommodation
[Not supported by viewer]
Existing
UC claimant in specified accommodation 
[Not supported by viewer]
DWP's Service Innovation Lead advises Work Coach 

[Not supported by viewer]
Work Coach confirms claimant’s details and signposts claimant to the relevant Local Authority Housing Benefit team
[Not supported by viewer]
Local Authority Housing Benefit team processes claim
[Not supported by viewer]
Claimant receives HB for
housing costs

[Not supported by viewer]
Work Coach contacts DWP’s Service Innovation Lead for their site
[Not supported by viewer]

Pathway 3: New UC claimants (Social and Private Rented Sector Housing)


Claimant indicates they are receiving HB for
Social Rented Housing or 
Private Rented Housing 

[Not supported by viewer]
DWP automatically issue form MGP1 (LA) to the Local Authority
in order to:
 
(1) advise them of the UC claim 
and
(2) to ask them to close down the HB claim 

[Not supported by viewer]
Claimant in
specified accommodation makes new UC claim
[Not supported by viewer]
The Local Authority confirm to claimant that HB claim has NOT been closed 
[Not supported by viewer]
The Local Authority continue
to pay HB to claimant
[Not supported by viewer]
The Local Authority  select the option on the form indicating that  
claimant is in specified accommodation 

[Not supported by viewer]

 

« Back to Index

Notes   [ + ]