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exempt from shared accommodation rate 25 to 35

 

Vonny
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Welfare Rights Adviser, Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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Can someone put my mind at rest

The local jobcentre are saying that you can be exempt from the shared accommodation rate if you have been homeless for 3 months and this is the guidance they have provided to housing options:

‘Homeless

The homeless exemption applies to claimants who are at least 25 years old but under 35 years old and have been previously homeless or been living in a hostel for homeless people for the qualifying period of 3 months or more.

The qualifying period does not have to be a continuous period to qualify for the exemption.

A claimant satisfies the exemption criteria if they have been homeless or lived in one or more homeless hostels for a combined period of 3 months or more and designated as social housing where they will receive support for resettlement in the community. ‘

Whilst I would dearly love this to be true, especially due to the local hostels being unable to cope with demand and the weather isn’t great, this is not the wording in schedule 4, para 29 (4) of the UC 2013 regs.  Has there been any amendment that has passed me by?  Please can I be wrong!

     
HB Anorak
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It’s not the exact wording but it looks like a reasonable summary to me.  Which bit of the guidance did you think might be more generous than the actual regs?

     
Vonny
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it is the bit of ‘have previously been homeless OR lived in a homeless hostel’

whereas the regs say:

(4) E is at least 25 but under 35 years old and—
(a)has, for a total of at least 3 months (whether or not continuously), lived in one or more hostels for homeless people; and
(b)whilst E was living in such a hostel, was offered and has accepted services which the Secretary of State considers are intended to assist E to be rehabilitated or resettled within the community.

      [ Edited: 22 Jan 2019 at 11:21 am by Vonny ]
HB Anorak
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Aha, I didn’t spot that.  I see what you mean, it reads as if you don’t need to have been in a hostel doesn’t it

     
Vonny
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And that is what the Jobcentre are saying it is, so just homeless no hostel or resettlement support and say can have one bed private rented?  And it is being paid?

     
Vonny
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This is the guidance that the Jobcentre have been using:

Under 35 rule
A single claimant under the age of 35 is paid a shared accommodation rate (SAR) unless an exemption applies. The SAR is applied even if the claimant lives in self-contained accommodation.
The SAR does not apply to under 35s living in supported housing in the PRS as this is outside the LHA scheme.
A single person under age 35 will be exempt from the SAR if they are:
• aged 18 to 21 and identified as a care leaver
• an ex-offender who poses a risk of serious harm to the public
• formerly homeless, aged 25 to 34 and receiving support to resettle back into the community
• on account of their disability, receiving:
• Attendance Allowance (which includes Armed Forces Independence payment and Constant Attendance Allowance, paid as part of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or War Disablement Pension)
• DLA care component at the middle or higher rate
• PIP daily living component (either rate).

Homeless
The homeless exemption applies to claimants who are at least 25 years old but under 35 years old and have been previously homeless or been living in a hostel for homeless people for the qualifying period of 3 months or more.
The qualifying period does not have to be a continuous period to qualify for the exemption.
A claimant satisfies the exemption criteria if they have been homeless or lived in one or more homeless hostels for a combined period of 3 months or more and designated as social housing where they will receive support for resettlement in the community.


The person we got this from is ‘unable to be allowed access to the regulation’

Have the UC regulations actually changed?

     
HB Anorak
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Have the UC regulations actually changed?

Not as far as I’m aware - I think it’s case of someone trying to use plain English in the guidance and not anticipating that certain words would be be given great significance by the reader.  In the regs as far as I am aware it remains the case the person must have been receiving support in a hostel or combination of hostels for at least three months in the past.  Just being homeless per se isn’t enough.  The policy intention is not to squander all the hard work that went into resettling the person.

Are you going to be subversive and secretly tell them where they can find the regulation without permission?

     
Vonny
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No, if they can’t work out how to find legislation in this google world what hope is there

     
Elliot Kent
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We have found it hard enough to get this rule applied to people who actually qualify - if they want to apply it to people who don’t, then so be it.

(I do think that if someone has been homeless in whatever circumstance for 3 months, then it might be reasonable to offer them this slight boost in their chances of sustaining a tenancy - but unfortunately that is not what the regs say).