Universal Credit - New £400 Benefit Changes Set to Kick in This Week

Monday 07 June, 2021 Written by  Daily Mirror
Universal Credit - New £400 Benefit Changes Set to Kick in This Week

SHARED ACCOMODATION RATE - At risk people across Britain will now receive extra support with housing costs as benefit payments for vulnerable claimants are introduced.

The changes affect those who qualify for the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) which determines how much young people can get paid towards their rent.

Under updates to eligibility rules, more vulnerable people, including care leavers and those who have been homeless will see their payments increase by up to £400 each month.

The changes, which are being introduced two years earlier than scheduled, are expected to help Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.

The SAR is applied to renters aged under 35 who are claiming support through their Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Changes to the Local Housing Association rate

There are two key changes:

  1. Care leavers can now claim the higher one-bedroom LHA rate for longer, as the maximum age limit has been raised to 25, from 22.
  2. Anyone who has lived in a homeless hostel for 3 months or more, regardless of age, will also now be able to claim the higher rate, as the age limit has been removed.

 

Universal Credit uses the Local Housing Allowance to calculate how much housing benefit claimants are entitled to – it is based on average rent prices in the local area.

Until now, most single people aged under 35 could only claim support to help towards the cost of a room in a shared house - known as the Shared Accommodation Rate, the lowest LHA band.

But there is a higher, one-bedroom rate available for people who need to rent solo housing.

Under the new rules, care leavers will now be able to claim this higher one-bedroom LHA rate until the age of 25 instead of 22.

And anyone who has lived in a homeless hostel, regardless of age, will also now be able to claim the higher rate, as the age limit has been removed.

In short, this means people who fall into the vulnerable bracket will be able to get more money to help with rent.

A care leaver is a person who has been in Local Authority care (e.g. residential or foster care) for 13 weeks or more since they were age 14, and ending after age 16.

The government says that claimants get hundreds of pounds more towards their rent costs under the rule changes.

Wil Quince MP

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “These changes are an immediate boost for some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities.

“We know that having a safe, secure home is vital to getting on your feet and often into work.

"By bringing these changes in early, we’re able to help more people right now, as we all look to recover from the pandemic.”

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