Government Flagship Universal Credit Central Housing Group

Government Flagship Universal Credit Delayed

The much ‘lauded’ government flagship Universal Credit has been delayed for the umpteenth time and will not be fully rolled out until 2024; it should have been completed during 2017.

The DWP has admitted that the number of claimants being switched over to the new system was “lower than forecasted” with over a million people that had hoped to have been switched over, have remained on the old system of benefits; many are extremely worried about moving over to the government flagship Universal Credit.

Will Quince, the Minister for Welfare Delivery, said: “Universal Credit is the biggest change to the welfare system in a generation, bringing together six overlapping benefits into one monthly payment and offering support to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“It is right that we revisit our forecasts and plan, and re-plan accordingly – ensuring that the process is working well for people on benefits.”

There are widespread concerns that the government’s continued rollout of Universal Credit causes recipients a large percentage of which are renters, to wait up to four weeks, and in some cases longer, to receive their first monthly payment.

Many private tenants who were used to receiving their benefits weekly and the rent paid directly to their landlords, are finding themselves in real danger of being made homeless. The system has always experienced major problems with lack of proper support to help people complete the convoluted online process and worse, still late payments.

A trade body’s recent research found that increasing numbers of landlords are not willing to rent their properties to people on housing benefits.

A spokesperson for the trade body, said: “Our research shows that a decreasing proportion of landlords are letting to tenants in receipt of local housing allowance or Universal Credit, and that there is a wide variation across the country.”

The DWP has finally published updated guidance to help landlords who have tenants on Universal Credit.

The guidance will suggest ways that landlords can help tenants who are being switched over to Universal Credit, and how they can arrange to make rental payments themselves to their landlords.

The guides explain what assistance tenants can expect to help them move over the new once monthly benefit payment.

For information on Alternative Payment Arrangements click here.

Information on service charges for landlords click here.

Landlords can fill in the UC47 form if their tenant is unable to pay their rent, so they can be paid directly from the DWP instead click here.

Richard Merrick of PIMS, said: ”Any help and guidance for landlords with housing benefit claimants is appreciated, however there seems to be an undercurrent that landlords are now being asked to help tenants with switching over to the new system.

“Surely this is the JobCentre Plus’ responsibility as well as the £43million funded Citizen’s Advice? Landlords are already working for the Immigration Department with their Right to Rent responsibility and will now being asked to fulfil DWP duties.

What next Dietary Assisting (Policing) with failure to stop tenants eating chips in the property, resulting in a fine for their landlords?”

Blog Post from PIMS

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