Why is housing benefit stopped when claiming Universal Credit?

November 2, 2017

The difficulties facing people on Universal Credit are now widely known. People making a claim are faced with a wait of 6 weeks or more before they get their first payment. One of the critical components of UC is the housing element which replaces housing benefit (or local housing allowance for private tenants). An application for UC is treated as a new claim which means that somebody who has previously been receiving housing benefit suddenly finds it stopped. This inevitably means that, unless they have some savings, they are cast into rent arrears. The poorer somebody is then the more difficult it is for them to extricate themselves from debt, which, in this case, is no fault of theirs. Even though advance payments can be issued (the DWP kept this quiet for a long time) it is a loan which has to be repaid over 6 months. Read the rest of this entry »


IDS threatens harassment of working poor tenants under Universal credit

March 1, 2014

Listening to Ian Duncan Smith you would imagine that Universal Credit (UC) would soon become the eighth wonder of the world. Reality is somewhat at variance with his steadfast refusal to accept that it is in fact a disaster in the making. The latest news is that working tenants will be targeted under UC. Currently the ‘sanctions’ regime, which has seen a massive increase in the withdrawal of benefits payments to claimants, only applies to out of work benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance. However, the Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed that under UC, where a tenant is working less than 35 hours a week at minimum wage, sanctioning could involve losing their HB on the grounds that they might not be ‘doing enough’ to find more hours of work. This would impact both on tenants and their landlords. It would create rent arrears, which as they mounted, could lead to eviction of the tenant and their family. Read the rest of this entry »

The stigmatisation of benefits recipients and the reality – who receives Housing benefit?

April 23, 2013

The stigmatisation of benefit recipients, which this government, and previous ones, have promoted, was reflected in George Osborne’s comments about ‘hard-working families’ getting up to go to work on a dark morning only to see their neighbour’s curtains still drawn, because they have chosen a life on benefits as a ‘lifestyle choice’. Read the ‘red-tops’ and you will find stories about individuals which are said to be typical of benefits recipients who have made this ‘lifestyle choice’. Read the discussion on news websites and you would imagine that it is a given that people on housing benefit are mostly work-shy ‘skivers’.

What those who cheerfully join in this stigmatisation never do is to actually look at government statistics to try to make an objective assessment. Prejudice never bothers with examining the evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

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