On 19th Oct 2012 the DWP issued bulletin HB/CTBG10/2012 . In this bulletin the DWP clarified that under Universal Credit:
- temporary accommodation will not be exempt from Direct Payments
- benefit relating to temporary housing costs will be paid monthly in arrears
- benefit will relate to rent levels in temporary accommodation in the social rented sector associated with LHA levels used in the private sector and will take account of household size not property size
- management costs associated with temporary accommodation will be separated out and passed across to local authorities to administer through Discretionary Housing Payments
Universal Credit is set to begin in April 2013 for new applicants and existing HB claims will migrate across to Universal Credit in due course (timetable for doing this has not been finalised).
Those providing temporary accommodation are extremely concerned that rent payment will depend on individuals rather than being paid straight to the landlord. Those using temporary accommodation may be accommodated for a very short time and may face quite chaotic situations. Both factors conspire to create difficulties in paying rent; compounded by the fact that benefit will be paid a month in arrears.
In the longer term the bulletin states that a new system will be set up in discussion with key stakeholders. The HSEU understands that the Scottish Government will be putting forward objections to the plans as laid out by the DWP.