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19 November, 2020 Open access

DWP confirms that payments under the COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme will be disregarded for purposes of calculating housing benefit

New edition of LA Welfare Direct also advises that MHCLG will issue guidance on the impact of grants on council tax reduction ‘in due course’

The DWP has issued guidance to local authority housing benefit staff to confirm that payments made to claimants under the coronavirus (COVID-19) Winter Grant Scheme will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating housing benefit.

In LA Welfare Direct lite 11/2020, the DWP highlights that on 8 November 2020 the government announced a package of extra targeted financial support for those in need over the winter period, including the £170 million Winter Grant Scheme that will be administered by local authorities to support people in England with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other associated costs between December 2020 and March 2021.

In relation to the impact of grant payments on housing benefit and council tax reduction, the DWP advises -

‘Payments made to claimants through this grant will meet the definition for Local Welfare Provision in housing benefit regulations for working age claimants, so can be disregarded. As the payments are not listed as income to be taken into account, they can also be disregarded for pension age housing benefit customers.

DWP has notified the Ministry of Housing, Communicates and Local Government (MHCLG) to determine the impacts on local council tax reduction and will update you regarding this in due course.’

LA Welfare Direct lite 11/2020 is available from gov.uk