Following months of speculation, there have been some benefit changes in the recent budget announcements.
We now know what’s happening with important issues such as the uplift in Universal Credit (UC), lump sum payments for tax credit claimants, changes for people getting the Severe Disability Premium, and likely changes following recent court decisions.
As always with benefits, headlines are followed by the detail in the small print and that’s where we see what is really happening!
The bottom line as far as UC is concerned is that claimants on legacy benefits are still unsure about whether or not to take the plunge into the unknown waters of Universal Credit, even though logic and maths may tell them they would be better off. Having a 6 month extension in UC rates, which does make UC claimants generally better off than their peers on legacy benefits, may not be enough to tempt people into switching as there is no way back once they have pressed ‘submit’. We will debate these issues in our upcoming Benefits for Beginners course on 10 & 12 May, and on Catching Up with Universal Credit courses on 8 June, along with other vital measures announced in the budget which are actually really helpful.
One of these, which has real significance for BHT and other organisations concerned with the housing of young, vulnerable people, concerns Local Housing Allowance, which is the maximum amount of help people can get towards their rent in the private sector…
Up to now, people aged 25+ have been able to access the one-bedroom rate of LHA (as opposed to the shared accommodation rate which limits people to a room in a shared house) if they have previously spent 3 months in a homeless hostel, receiving support. In recognition of the fact that homeless issues actually do affect people under 25, this seemingly arbitrary lower age limit is removed from this June. This means that everyone who fits the ‘3 months in a homeless hostel’ requirement will not be subjected to the shared accommodation rate (which is really low!). Everyone who works with this age group will need the small print of this change/ improvement, along with several other significant relaxations in benefits rules which we will look at in BHT’s upcoming training.
It’s not all bleak in benefits world!
Find Out More
Click below to find out more about BHT’s upcoming benefits training:
About Jayne Knights
Jayne has been delivering training in Brighton for 15 years.
After qualifying as a social worker and working as an adviser in London, she finally made it to the seaside and has been in Brighton since the mid-80s, doing a variety of benefits-related jobs.
Having had such a long immersion in benefits world, she is familiar with just about every scenario that might crop up, and aims to bring that experience and overview into all of her courses.
The trainer was brilliant, she clearly knows her stuff and set the learning at a great pace. There was a good amount of information conveyed in a clear way.” (Benefits for Beginners)