Tuesday, 31 March 2015

DWP to rule on direct payment exceptions

The Department for Work and Pensions will decide in which cases payment of the housing element of universal credit should go direct to the landlord.

The Local support services framework for the government’s flagship welfare reform, published today, states it will be up to the department to make exceptions to normal payment rules such as paying the housing element of the credit to landlords.

In most cases universal credit will be paid to the claimant, on a monthly basis. For many this will be a change to existing welfare payments, as benefits are usually paid more frequently, and housing benefit often goes direct to the landlord.

Housing associations and private landlords have raised concerns about the changes, with many predicting an increase in rent arrears that could damage their ability to borrow from lenders at favourable rates.

The framework published today lists the groups who might qualify for additional support with universal credit, the types of support that might be appropriate, and outlines local structures for the delivery of these services.

The department will be responsible for managing and administering where payments should be made direct to landlords, splitting payments between two adult members of a household, and increasing the frequency of universal credit payments.

Local delivery partners will be able to identify cases where alternative payment mechanisms may be needed, refer claimants to the department, and mediate ‘between landlords and claimants to help a claimant retain a tenancy’.

Groups that could qualify for extra support include homeless people, those with mental health issues, domestic violence victims, and households supported by the troubled families programme. They will be offered help with budgeting and using the online universal credit system, as well as a range of other support, with the aim of eventually moving them off the advice programme.

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said: ‘Universal credit will prepare people for the world of work by getting them to access the benefit online and budget their money in the same way people in work budget. But we know some people will need extra support to manage this, and we’re committed to ensuring that no one falls through the cracks.

‘We are working with local authorities and local services to determine who will need this extra help – be it money advice services, face-to-face support or help to get online – and how best to deliver it.’

Readers' comments (19)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you're already a subscriber to Inside Housing, please sign in to your account to view comments and add your own.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • Rule change allows access to lower security bonds

    19 March 2015

    Housing associations will be allowed to access record-breaking government guaranteed bonds with lower levels of security, thanks to a rule change announced by the government yesterday.

  • Concern over welfare payment slowdown


    The amount of time landlords have been waiting to receive rent under universal credit has jumped because of government delays in processing payments.

  • Northern Ireland confirms direct payment to landlords

    10 February 2015

    Landlords will be paid benefit for tenants’ rent direct under universal credit in Northern Ireland, the Department for Social Development (DSD) has announced today. 

  • Benefit rule ‘worse than poor law’


    A plan to make people wait seven days before they are entitled to benefit has been slammed as ‘worse than the poor law’ by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

  • Labour loses motion on ‘DWP chaos’

    1 July 2014

    The Labour Party lost a motion yesterday urging the prime minister to take control of the ‘chaotic’ Department for Work and Pensions.

IH Subscription