In the Autumn Statement it was announced that the Benefits Cap would not apply to housing benefit for Supported Exempt Accommodation (SEA). The DWP has also confirmed that when the Universal Credit system is introduced to replace Housing Benefits, SEA will continue not be to affected by the benefits cap:
“…housing benefit paid to households in Supported Exempt Accommodation is being disregarded from the benefits cap. The disregard will apply to benefit cap cases under Housing Benefit from April 2013 and under Universal Credit. While this does not mean that these households are exempt, by not including housing benefit in the calculation we expect that the vast majority of these cases will no longer be affected by the cap…..”
The definition of Supported Exempt Accommodation currently being used by the DWP is:
‘A resettlement place; or accommodation provided by a county council, housing association registered charity or voluntary organisation where that body or person acting on their behalf provides the claimant with care, support or supervision.’
If you are currently unsure whether accommodation is being treated as ‘exempt’ you should be able to findthis out from your local authority’s housing benefit department. In April 2013 the DWP is planning to gather national information (see page 8) about ‘Supported Exempt Accommodation’ from housing benefit data to help inform the development of a new system for dealing with it in the longer term.