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  • LHA/Universal Credit

    Impact on tenants moving to Universal Credit

    Good morning

    The House of Commons Library published a report https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/soc...ut-so-far/ just the other day, in advance of Ministers and DWP being questioned in Parliament and at its Work & Pensions Committee, about the impact of "Full Service" expansion, so far, and what preparations have been made to accommodate the anticipated steep rise in claimant numbers & complexity, over the next 4/5 years when another 6 million claimants are likely to be added.

    Neil Couling, Director General, UC Programme admitted during questioning that the next phases, including the forced migration & "transitional protection", starting 2019, will be the most challenging part of the exercise.

    Whilst I would recommend you examining the report, I've extracted some of the key findings and listed them below:

    * Rollout is only 11% complete so far (5 years after programme started).

    * 75% of existing claimants are single with no children (in other words, the simplest of cases).

    * Only 50% of claimants can access UC online and understand it

    25% of claimants were not able to submit their claim online at all and 30% of claimants who registered online found doing so difficult. The NAO points out that claimants with health conditions were significantly more likely to report difficulties.

    * 60% of claimants accessed advance payments (repayable loans) in January 2018 a rise of 40% from December 2017

    * National Audit Office (NAO) reported Social Landlords associate UC "Ful Service" with "stark" increase in tenants' rent arrears 

    * Another 220 Jobcentre areas to be added by December 2018

    "We can expect the numbers, range & complexity of cases to increase as rollout continue"something I've repeated on numerous occasions in my bulletins.

    So, between now and March 2023, we should see, another 6 million claimants added to the 1 million that have already transitioned to UC. The new claimants will include couples, families with children, people with disabilities, claimants with complex needs etc. so, if anything, will need more support, particularly, at the stage where they naturally transition, due to a change in their family circumstances or are forced to migrate on the instructions of DWP.

    In either case, they're unlikely to secure much help in the claimaing process, directly from DWP. Instead, they're more likely to seek help from their council, housing association, PRS landlord or some advice provider. DWP is counting on this, as it believes councils and housing associations, in particular, already provide such help and really can't afford not to, as they're likely to lose more in lost rental income by not assisting their tenants.

    The same equally applies to the tenants of PRS landlords. As I've stated on numerous occasions, and one of Vanessa's videos, if you're heavily invested in the niche market and wish to minimise UCFS's effect, get yourself educated. I present the following course for the RLA. 

    If I can be of further assistance with Universal Credit or Housing Benefit issue, please contact me bill@ucadvice.co.uk or phone 07733 080 389

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