Vulnerable people in Harlow set to get more help with Universal Credit

General / Mon 31st May 2021 at 10:03am

THOUSANDS of vulnerable people will be able to get more help with housing costs from this week as changes to monthly benefit payments for at-risk claimants come into force reports The Mirror

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 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).

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.

For instance, in Harlow a single care leaver aged 23 could expect to receive up to £387 additional housing support per month as a result of the change.

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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