New Universal Credit rules to bring in significant changes

The DWP has published new regulations following the Universal Credit changes announced in the Autumn Budget last year.

15 February 2018

The key changes set out in the new regulations are:

  • Waiting days will be switched off from 14 February – so any claim from this date will not serve waiting days.  
  • Housing Benefit run-on is to start from 11 April – anyone already receiving Housing Benefit who transfers onto Universal Credit will receive an extra two weeks' pay to help with rent over the first Universal Credit assessment period.
  • Temporary housing costs will come out of Universal Credit and be paid through Housing Benefit. People in temporary accommodation who move out and claim Universal Credit housing costs will receive housing costs for the whole monthly period even if they move two weeks into their assessment period.
  • There are also additional changes around assessment of income for the self-employed, rules for students and further exemptions from the exclusion from housing costs for 18-21 year olds.

The DWP has published a report that provides some clarification on how the two-week run-on of Housing Benefit will work, including where the money is paid direct to the landlord, in response to questions to the Social Security Advisory Committee.

New roll-out timetable announced for service expansion

Also as outlined in the Autumn Budget last year was the new roll-out timetable for expansion, which has now been confirmed. The service will be expanded between 7 February and 25 April. There are full details of the affected postcode areas on the Government website, and a spreadsheet has been provided that lists job centres with matching postcode areas.

Landlord Portal and Trusted Partner status

The Landlord Portal and Trusted Partner status has now been rolled out to more than 130 social landlords across Britain. With the slow-down in the roll-out of full service Universal Credit, the DWP has also significantly slowed the roll-out of both the portal and Trusted Partner status. A technical issue needs to be addressed before the portal can be extended to a large number of new landlords. The DWP expects to resume the larger scale roll-out of the portal from April 2018 onwards.