A memo for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision makers outlines that homeless people, including those moving on, are still entitled to the housing cost element of Universal Credit.
Call to members: 5 questions on the operation of Universal Credit
- Firstly, the commitment to halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament will require, as we have outlined, adequate support with housing costs through the benefits system.
- Secondly, the commitment to continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, means that solutions will need to be found to the many issues Homeless Link, as part of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition, and others have raised to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s Universal Credit inquiry (see our response here).
There are problems around long waiting periods for initial payments and also issues with claimants not being given the choice to have housing costs paid direct to landlords, lack of IT support and difficulties for third parties in supporting people. These will all require changes to the way that Universal Credit operates both locally and nationally.
Although only around 70 Job Centres have the full Universal Credit service in place (an updated map of current centres with full Universal Credit is available here), these issues will become even more prevalent from October, when roll out of Universal Credit will increase (to see when your Job Centre is due to go live, view this timetable).
As a membership organisation, Homeless Link hears of many issues Universal Credit is causing homeless people, but we have also been made aware of pockets of good practice at a local level. We want to make this practice much more commonplace; both through sharing examples amongst members and by using positive examples to show Government what can be done where processes are refined.
We are, therefore, asking members to let us know if they have any examples of positive practice, in particular around:
- Relevant claimants being made aware that there are exceptions to the one week waiting day’s penalty
- Opening bank accounts and/or getting appropriate ID to reduce delays in claims being processed
- People being pro-actively offered a manageable repayment schedule for a Short Term Advance
- People being offered Alternative Payment Arrangements at the outset of a claim
- Job Centres supporting third parties and claimants with making a Universal Credit claim
Please contact, Chris Brill on firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June with any examples you would like to share with us to make the case to Government to reform the delivery of Universal Credit.
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Chris is our policy manager with particular responsibility for a number of areas including welfare and migration.
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