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Housing Benefit/Universal Credit : Supported Accommodation and Temporary Accommodation Peter Meehan Housing Benefit Adviser 27th August 2014

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Presentation on theme: "Housing Benefit/Universal Credit : Supported Accommodation and Temporary Accommodation Peter Meehan Housing Benefit Adviser 27th August 2014"— Presentation transcript:

1 Housing Benefit/Universal Credit : Supported Accommodation and Temporary Accommodation Peter Meehan Housing Benefit Adviser 27th August 2014

2 Temporary Accommodation and Supported Exempt Accommodation Different definitions and legislative provisions for each distinct category of claim. Important to know and understand the rules that apply to each, especially as we move forward towards roll out of Universal Credit

3 Current HB Subsidy provisions for Temporary Accommodation leased by the council Covers the full HB awarded or 90% of LHA (rate as at Jan 2011) + £60 per week in respect of management fee or £375 per week whichever is the lowest figure

4 Current HB Subsidy provisions for Temporary Accommodation owned by the council No upper limit to eligible rent charges in Scotland Under occupation (bedroom tax) deductions apply Ministers have repeatedly rejected representations from COSLA and Scottish Government to introduce an under occupation exemption for council owned TA.

5 Temporary Accommodation under Universal Credit? In the short term, the housing element will remain outside of Universal Credit with Housing Benefit continuing to provide assistance with rental charges for existing TA residents and any new residents not yet receiving Universal Credit. As Universal Credit rolls out, the housing element for all TA residents will be restricted to the LHA level, including Shared Accommodation Rate. The housing element of the UC will be paid directly to the TA landlord for the first 4 months, after which it will be paid to the claimant or consideration given to an ongoing ‘managed payment’ arrangement. A separate, reduced management element of £45.00 per week will be paid directly to the TA landlord ( thereby keeping it out of the Benefit Cap) while UC is in payment. That payment will be administered by the LA from funding provided by DWP

6 Supported Exempt Accommodation: Landlord criteria a housing association ( as defined in Housing Associations Act 1985) or a registered charity ( within meaning of charity in Part 1 of the Charities Act 2006) or a voluntary organisation ( defined in Reg 2(1) of the HB regulations 2006) NB. Does not include council owned and managed accommodation nor private landlord accommodation, neither category of which can be Supported Exempt Accommodation

7 Supported Exempt Accommodation : Care, Support or Supervision criteria? must be more than minimal must be provided directly by the landlord or someone acting on their behalf (ie not by a separate organisation, company or agency) the support need not be funded by the landlord - normally funding would be available from either Supporting People, Care in Community budgets or another separately identifiable funding stream

8 DWP Research Report 714 Exempt and Supported Accommodation Section 1.2 ‘The HB regulations refer to the ‘accommodation provider’, but there has been some debate about what this actually means. It should be interpreted as the landlord to whom the tenant is ultimately liable to pay rent. That excludes a managing agent (eg ALMO) or an organisation responsible for brokering or facilitating the housing or care arrangements on behalf of the council.

9 Supported Exempt Accommodation : HB Subsidy provisions Charitable or voluntary organisation claim – must be referred to the Rent Officer. 100% subsidy for HB up to the Rent Officer figure + 60% of any remaining HB in excess of that figure for pensioners, single parents and sick/disabled. Housing Association claim – can be referred to the Rent Officer in which case the subsidy rules outlined above apply. If not referred to the RO then 100% subsidy available on any HB awarded. Councils rarely refer any HA cases to the Rent Officer.

10 Supported Exempt Accommodation under Universal Credit and beyond? Housing Benefit will continue for all Supported Exempt Accommodation (SEA) for the foreseeable future, even if the claimant does receive Universal Credit. Longer term solution is localisation of assistance with housing costs for residents of supported accommodation

11 Lord Freud letter : April 2013 ‘You will be aware that we have put in place arrangements to ensure that our reforms meet the needs of those using supported exempt accommodation. From April (2013), this accommodation will be exempt from the benefit cap and the spare room subsidy. ‘It has recently been brought to our attention that much of the existing provision does not meet the precise definition of supported ‘exempt’ accommodation. This has, understandably, caused concern amongst providers. ‘We would like to make clear our intention to protect providers from any ‘unintended consequences’ ‘Proposals will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity

12 The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Supported Accommodation) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 From 10 th April 2014 A new definition, ‘specified accommodation’, will include, as well as exempt accommodation, supported accommodation that does not exactly meet the existing definition of ‘exempt accommodation’ because the landlord does not provide support (or have it provided on their behalf).

13 continued ‘Managed properties’ will be subject to the same landlord criteria as applies for ‘exempt accommodation’ but without the need for that landlord to provide the support. Will include non-permanent accommodation in domestic violence refuges provided by local authorities and certain third sector providers (ie charitable, voluntary and/or HA landlords). Will also include hostels owned or managed by local authorities where residents receive care, support or supervision

14 Domestic Violence ‘domestic violence’ means any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling behaviour, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse, including but not limited to – psychological, physical, sexual, emotional and/or financial abuse regardless of the gender or sexuality of the victim

15 What is a hostel? Defined in Regulation 2 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 ‘hostel’ means a building in which there is provided..…domestic accommodation otherwise than in separate and self- contained premises, and either board or facilities for the preparation of food adequate to the needs of residents.

16 Amendments to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 New criteria requires the claimant to have been admitted to accommodation in order to meet an identifiable need for and receives care, support or supervision. This is to ensure that genuine supported accommodation is correctly identified and is distinguished from standard housing with floating support Exemptions from the benefit cap are being widened to cover all ‘specified accommodation’ Bedroom Tax will still apply for non-exempt supported accommodation’

17 Amendments to Universal Credit Regulations –October 2014 From 3 rd November 2014 ‘Specified accommodation’ residents will not have their housing costs met by Universal Credit but, like ‘exempt accommodation’ residents,will continue to access that help via Housing Benefit This offers protection from the benefit cap and the new direct and monthly payment arrangements that will be a feature of Universal Credit. It does not provide exemption from the under-occupation restrictions.

18 Specified Accommodation What needs to happen right now? What needs to happen in the longer term?


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