It’s a Truth Universally Acknowledged that anyone working in housing is fast becoming acquainted with the rigours and rewards of Universal credit: Full Service.
Our Staff attended a very informative and helpful training session this week run by Citizen Advice.
There has been a lot of negative press relating to Universal Credit. Sure it is a drastic change and for anyone who has been working advising tenants, there is a lot to contend with from the amalgamation of 6 legacy benefits, calculations, assessment periods and maintenance of a digital claim.
As with the roll-out of any new welfare system; housing staff are at the forefront assisting tenants at the point of crisis. It’s why it’s essential that we keep up to date with regulation changes, high court rulings and work in partnership with other advice agencies with specialist knowledge.
What is clear is that although different from legacy benefit in its operation many of our tenants will be better off on Universal Credit with enhanced allowances for families in work and faster verification of income via the Real Time Information system. A real benefit to those of our tenants on zero hours contracts with frequent changes in their entitlement; universal credit provides the ability for welfare benefits to accurately reflect real changes in real time.
For those cases where tenants need more support we are there to pick up the slack and act as an advocate, working with our partners to ensure tenancies are sustained and people get the support they need. A little known fact is that while in temporary accommodation our tenants who claim universal credit for their living costs will still claim housing benefit via the local authority for their housing costs. This regulation protects our vulnerable homeless tenants while they navigate homelessness awaiting permanent homes.
From 1st February 2019 the bar on families with more than two children will be lifted. Families with 3 or more children will now be able to claim Universal Credit if they have a change of circumstance which would have traditionally triggered a new claim for a legacy benefit. What does that mean? It means many more people are now likely to start encountering Universal Credit, so if you are a temporary accommodation resident and need some advice you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we will be happy to help.