New Universal Credit boost for vulnerable people could see payments jump by £400

New Universal Credit boost for vulnerable people could see payments jump by £400

06/01/2021

Thousands of Britain’s most vulnerable people will be able to get extra help with housing costs from this week.

Changes to the monthly benefits payments for those at-risk will come into force.

The benefits boost will affect those who qualify for the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR), which decides how much young people get towards paying their rent.

More vulnerable claimants, like those leaving care or who have been homeless, can see their payments jump by £400 per month under the new rules.

The changes are being introduced two years earlier than previously scheduled and it’s thought it will help out Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.

The SAR is awarded to renters under 35 who are receiving support through their Local Housing Allowance.

Universal Credit uses the Local Housing Allowance to calculate how much housing benefit claimants will receive – and it’s based on average rent prices in the person’s local area.

Up until 2021, most singletons under 35 could only get money towards a room within a shared house and were placed in the lowest LHA band.

But, there is also a one-bedroom rate available for those who must live alone.

Under the new rules, care leavers will be able to claim the higher solo LHA rate until age 25 rather than 22.

Any who has lived in a homeless hostel, regardless of their age, can also claim the higher rate as the age limit has been removed.

This means those classed as vulnerable will be able to pay higher rents.

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.

In some areas the new rules mean a substantial ump in payments.

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The Mirror reports that in Harlow and Stortford 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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