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Changes to housing benefits

 

BENEFIT CHANGES YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF BEFORE YOU BID

The way housing benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit (UC) is calculated, is changing.

What does this mean for me?

Under 22’s

From April 2017, if you are under 22, with no dependents and you rent a property, you will not be eligible for housing benefit to cover your rent. If you are claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you may be eligible for some help.

New tenants from 1st April 2016

If you have taken a new tenancy on or after 1st April 2016, the amount of housing benefit or housing costs (If you claim Universal Credit) could be reduced from 1st April 2019.

What is changing?

If you rent a property from the council, the amount of housing benefit or housing costs you receive will be capped to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your household size. This will be the same rate that would be paid if you had a property with a private landlord. You can check the local housing allowance for your area by entering your postcode at https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx

Under 35’s

If you are under 35 years old, live alone and you are not entitled to the severe disability premium, help with your rent will be capped to the “shared room rate” even if you do not share your home with anyone else. See the table below

If you are in receipt of housing benefit or UC on or after 1 April 2019, you will need to consider how you will afford any shortfall in your housing benefit.

  • If your tenancy started before 1 April 2016 you are not affected by the Local Housing Allowance cap.
  • If you move to a new tenancy, your housing benefit will be capped to the Local Housing Allowance.
  • If you live in sheltered or supported housing, changes in housing benefit are due in  2019 (details are not yet known)                                                                                    

 

  Your LHA rate is based on your postcode

Postcode Shared room rate 1 bed 2 bed 3 bed 4 bed
WN6 – WN8 £57.57 £80.55 £96.23 £109.32 £149.59
PR4 £53.67 £89.46 £109.32 £126.58 £161.10

 L37 - L40

PR8 - 9
£69.23 £91.43 £120.82 £139.84 £172.60

 

Will I be affected?

  • The changes take effect on 1st April 2019 but you will be affected if you started a new tenancy (or renewed an existing one) from 1st April 2016
  • In many areas, our average rent (including service charges) is currently more than the LHA benefit rate.  This means that you may be affected by the changes as the amount you will get in housing benefit towards your rent will be less than the rent we charge.  This means you will have to pay the shortfall.
     

Keeping you informed

  • We will let you know nearer to April 2019 if we think the benefit towards your rent will be reduced.  If it is reduced, you will have to pay the shortfall from your own benefits or other income.  If you need more help with this, or help budgeting your income you can contact our Money Advice team on 01695 585230 or 585250.