18 to 21 year olds risk losing housing cost element of Universal Credit

Wednesday, 8 March 2017 - 10:15am

The Government has laid regulations so that from April 1st 2017, 18 to 21 year olds will no longer be entitled to the housing cost element of Universal Credit, unless they can prove they meet an exemption. Labour has put down a motion to annul the regulations, which will now be debated at a Delegated Legislation Committee. 

young girl looking sad

We are extremely disappointed that the regulations are due to come into force in April 2017. The policy puts many young people at risk of becoming homeless. Homeless Link and our members have been raising our concerns about these proposals for some time and highlighting the impact we believe these proposals will have. We have been asking Ministers and officials to drop the proposals altogether and have been sharing with them the evidence of the potential impact. If, however, they decide to go ahead with the proposals, we have urged them to delay implementation until robust, workable exemptions have been developed, in light of the Homelessness Reduction Bill progressing through Parliament.


Section 4B of the regulations outlines those people who are exempt from the policy. This explicitly includes victims of domestic violence, care leavers and young parents.

It also includes those for whom ‘in the opinion of the Secretary of State it is inappropriate to live with each of their parents.’ The Government will be producing an ‘Advice to decision makers’ document to clarify who this includes and how exemptions will be administered.

Supported housing

There will be no immediate impact on funding of supported housing, because this is paid through Housing Benefit. Although the ultimate aim is for Universal Credit to become part of the future funding settlement for supported housing.

However, there will be an impact when trying to move 18-21 year olds on from supported housing, as they will have to satisfy an exemption.     

Which areas

The removal of housing costs will only apply to people making new claims from April 1st 2017 in Universal Credit Full Service areas. People in Full Service areas but already claiming will not be affected until there is a break in their claim.

Existing claimants in Live Service areas will not be affected. As they are moved over to Full Service they will remain unaffected until there is a break in their claim.

The roll out schedule for Universal Credit Full Service includes details of which areas are currently Full Service and can be found here.

Full details of the exemptions and how these will be administered will be crucial to mitigating the worst effects of the policy. Homeless Link will share full details of these with members as soon as they are available.  We will continue to work with our members to challenge these proposals, monitor the impact of the changes on young people and to feed this back into Government.  

Talk To Us

Chris Brill

Chris Brill

Policy manager

Chris is our policy manager with particular responsibility for a number of areas including welfare and migration.

Telephone: 020 7840 4421
Email: chris.brill@homelesslink.org.uk
Twitter: @ChrisBrillHL

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