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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Conditionality and sanctions  →  Thread

Housing Cost only - conditionality issues

Giles Elliott
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benefitsowl.info, Manchester

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It’s possible that the answer to this is very obvious, but i seem to be slowly losing the plot…

Cl is currently on ESA (SG) and HB but has been offered parttime job, 17.5 hrs per week, about £208 gross £202 net.
Under legacy system cl would be worse off taking the job by around £12.

If he claimed UC he would be entitled to some of his housing costs (but nothing else) and would be around £20/week better off by my calcs.

By my reading of Reg 99(6) of the UC regs his earnings would be sufficient to exempt him from work search requirements, but would he be subject to all the other requirements? He does not feel well enough to consider a full time job.

I guess an alternative way of asking this question is: can a person lose housings costs via sanctions? And, even if they don’t, is there a risk that they might have a long sanction imposed that became a problem later on if they lost work?

Any help gratefully received…

Daphne
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A universal credit award isn’t given as housing costs - it’s just an amount of universal credit calculated by comparing the maximum award against your income. And a sanction, in most cases, is equivalent to 100% of the standard allowance (£317 per month for a single person 25 and over). So if you are sanctioned they can take that amount off your award - which may feel like they’re taking your rent money.

See benefitmythbuster.net

Giles Elliott
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benefitsowl.info, Manchester

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Thanks Daphne. i think I once knew this but had forgotten. I keep discovering (or rediscovering) things about UC, all of which have been bad news… :-(

mycatismo
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Housing Systems, Leeds

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Universal Credit isn’t a fruit salad- it’s a smoothie!

Martin Williams
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Welfare rights advisor - CPAG, London

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Giles Elliott - 31 August 2018 04:21 PM

It’s possible that the answer to this is very obvious, but i seem to be slowly losing the plot…

Cl is currently on ESA (SG) and HB but has been offered parttime job, 17.5 hrs per week, about £208 gross £202 net.
Under legacy system cl would be worse off taking the job by around £12.

If he claimed UC he would be entitled to some of his housing costs (but nothing else) and would be around £20/week better off by my calcs.

By my reading of Reg 99(6) of the UC regs his earnings would be sufficient to exempt him from work search requirements, but would he be subject to all the other requirements? He does not feel well enough to consider a full time job.

I guess an alternative way of asking this question is: can a person lose housings costs via sanctions? And, even if they don’t, is there a risk that they might have a long sanction imposed that became a problem later on if they lost work?

Any help gratefully received…

Giles- I am not certain how you doing the calculation but assuming that client remains someone with LCWRA whilst he is on UC (and note that for UC, unlike for ESA, there is no threshold amount of work that if a person does more than this then they are treated as not having LCWRA) then I calculate income when working and on UC as follows:

1. Wages - £202/week = £875 per month (I know it won’t work like that if he is paid weekly as the assessment period thing will bit but take that as fairly rough and ready).

2. Wages taken into account: 0.63x(£875 - £192)= £430.29.

3. UC max amount- £317.82 + £328.32 + housing costs = £646.14 + housing costs.

4. UC payment: £646.14 + housing costs - £430.29 = £215.85 plus housing costs.

5. Total income = £215.85 + £875 + housing costs. = £1090.85 plus housing costs.

However, under legacy ESA would stop and would not have LCWRA on HB calculation so would get much less.

Is that right? I suspect you may not have taken account of the work allowance and fact he could still have LCWRA for UC purposes despite the significant work when you did calculation?

Martin.

Peter Turville
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Welfare rights worker - Oxford Community Work Agency

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However, as claimant’s earnings are above the ‘relevant threshold’ (16 x NMW) they would be treated as ‘fit for work’ unless they are receiving AA, DLA, PIP or AFIP - in which case they may still be referred for a new WCA (ahead of a scheduled re-assessment) under UC Reg 41.

In effect this ‘simplification’ is the replacement for the ‘permitted work’ rule which makes starting / increasing employment and the impact on a UC award even more complex than PW was under ESA.

The situation can be even more complex for claimants awaiting their 1st WCA (rather than already having LCFW or LCFWRA) or who can be deemed to have LCFW or LCFWRA under UC Regs 39 & 40 & schs 8 & 9.