Apologies, this is another post that breaks the rules of good blogging. It’s heavy with jargon, starts dull and gets duller and I don’t even have a graphic to illustrate it. But this is an important subject for the small number of people it concerns; specifically people aged under 22 who need help with their housing costs.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have now confirmed that anyone aged between 18 and 21, (with certain exemptions, see list below) who lives in what’s called a Full Digital Service Area (FDSA) for Universal Credit (UC) will no longer be entitled to the Housing Element of Universal Credit (HEUC).
FDSAs are those parts of the country where the DWP are accepting UC claims from all types of benefit claimant with only very minor exceptions. This specifically excludes Sandwell where UC claims are currently only being accepted from limited classes of claimants. Sandwell is not expected to become a FDSA until July 2018. This means that people in the age group affected can continue to make claims for HEUC in Sandwell until July 2018. However, anyone aged 18 – 21 who has been awarded UC in a FDSA and was excluded from receiving Housing Costs, who then then moves to Sandwell, would still be barred from HEUC and would have their Universal Credit based only on the different parts of their original award.
In other words, if someone makes their initial claim for UC in Sandwell, they can receive help with their rent but if they claim UC in another area and then move to Sandwell, they may be refused help with any housing costs.
It’s also important to stress that the DWP have confirmed that these changes will not affect anyone who currently receives Housing Benefit. (There had been some speculation that Housing Benefit for under 22s was also about to be withdrawn).
The DWP have provided a list of exemptions which I’ve set out below. I’ve taken the wording directly from a DWP communication so again, apologies for the jargon used. I hope that we can put this into simpler language either on another blog post in the near future or in our next newsletter.
- Claimant households who are responsible for a child,
- All claimants who are not in the ‘all work related requirements’ conditionality group,
- Claimants who were previously in local authority care,
- Claimants in receipt of the care component of disability living allowance at the middle or highest rate or the daily living component of personal independence payment,
- Claimants who are subject to active multi-agency management (arrangements for managing risks posed by certain offenders),
- Claimants in temporary accommodation provided by a local authority pursuant to their homelessness duties
- Claimants whose “expected hours of work” have been reduced due to caring responsibilities or physical or mental impairment
- those for whom work-related requirements cannot be imposed due to the range of time-limited circumstances prescribed in sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) of regulation 99 of the 2013 regulations (ie the recently bereaved, those undertaking treatment for an addiction, etc)
- Claimants who are in work
- Claimants who are unable to live in the parental home because;
(a) they are an orphan
(b) their parents live abroad or
(c) in the opinion of the Secretary of State, it would not be appropriate for them to live in the parental home.”