Direct Payment of Housing Benefit – demonstration project

The Department for Work and Pensions has published a report from an independent evaluation of the Direct Payment Demonstration Projects (DPDPs).  The demonstration projects and the evaluation are still ongoing in the six pilot areas.

The report highlights the challenges that landlords face in preparing for direct payment of housing benefit and the experiences of tenants in setting up and managing direct payments.  

You can download a summary and the full report from the DWP Website.

 

Posted May 2012

 

Social landlords and others have concerns about the UK government’s plans to pay tenants on benefits direct rather than continue the current practice of paying housing benefit to landlords on behalf of tenants. Pilots are being set up across the UK to help identify the likely impact of paying tenants direct. In Scotland, Dunedin Canmore will take part in the pilot in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council from July 2012.

The direct payment of benefit to individuals rather than to landlords could make it more difficult for some people to pay for their rent.  The Unit is working with the SFHA which is involved in the demonstration project in Edinburgh to find out how people with support needs are being treated by the system.  The expectation is that vulnerable people will be given the option of rent being paid straight to their landlord but the DWP has so far refrained from defining vulnerability.  Some providers have commented that the definition should be about financial vulnerability rather than about disability or support needs.  It would be a mistake to think that just become a person needs support they cannot manage to organise their rent payments.

The HSEU can help to direct questions and comments about the Direct Payment Demonstration Project to the SFHA which will, in turn, raise the issues at project meetings.  The HSEU will track responses where these are provided.  This will provide an opportunity to remind the project about harder to reach people with support needs and the importance of including them in the project to help highlight issues such as accessibility of the new system.

 

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