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DHP to cover housing costs element lost on moving into temporary accommodation

Etain
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Housing Rights

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Joined: 2 May 2019

Hello - wondering if anyone can help with this.

The Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments, Saving and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2018 appear to create an ability to pay DHP where a UC claimant moves into specified or temporary accommodation during their UC assessment period and loses entitlement to housing costs due to that change in circumstances. The explanatory memorandum says

7.26 Except in those cases where the claimant moves on the last day of their assessment period, someone with a housing liability in Universal Credit who moves to temporary accommodation will lose up to one month’s housing element at the point of transition. It is for this reason that the transitional provisions have been amended to allow for Discretionary Housing Payments in such cases.
7.27 To give an example: George receives the housing element in Universal Credit and his assessment period runs from the 1st to the 31st of the month. His tenancy ends on the 15th of the month and his Local Authority place him in temporary accommodation. Currently, George would receive one month’s rent at the appropriate local housing allowance rate for that assessment period.
7.28 Under the new arrangements, Universal Credit housing costs would be switched off for that month as George has entered temporary accommodation. Housing Benefit would be payable from the 15th onwards so the claimant receives no support with housing costs for the Private Tenancy between 1st to 15th of the month. By allowing an underlying entitlement to Universal Credit, George is able to seek a Discretionary Housing Payment, should one be required, for support with this period.

Does anyone have any experience of this happening in practice? Am I reading this wrong? The reason I ask is because a similar amendment to NI regulations in 2018 failed to amend the proper regulation to allow for DHPs in this circumstance (the amendment was a direct copy of the GB amendment, despite the discretionary financial assistance regs being set up quite differently in each jurisdiction). The same policy intention is stated in the NI explanatory memorandum but the amendment is insufficient to pay DHPs in this particular scenario.

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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Joined: 12 March 2013

Stumbled across your post while dealing with a case like this.  Was looking for something official that conveyed an expectation that a DHP will be looked on favourably and the explanatory memorandum does so.  On the NI issue, as far as I can see the drafting is identical: you can get a DHP if you have a UC housing element, or would have one were it not for the fact that the accommodation is excluded from UC under para 3(e) or, since 2018, (ea) of Schedule 1 to the N I UC Regs.

I wondered whether you might be looking at a version of the DFA Regs that predates the original UC amendments in SR 2017/143?