The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that they will roll out a new system to pay social landlords’ direct payments. These changes were confirmed today in a letter and Q&A from Neil Couling.
The new system will see social landlords receive the housing cost element directly from the DWP at the same time that tenants receive their Universal Credit payments. It also enables landlords to access payment information via the Landlord Portal, where a managed payment is in place. This will mean that tenants and housing associations will have an accurate picture of any credit or debit on the rent account.
The DWP are currently finalising the rollout approach and will contact landlords two weeks before the go-live date. At this point, landlords will also be issued with detailed guidance to help use the new feature and obtain support if needed.
This is great news for housing associations and their tenants. Once rolled out this means tenants and landlords will be able to understand immediately if the account is in credit or debt – this is especially important as more tenants are now having to rely on universal credit.
The National Housing Federation and its members worked closely with DWP on the design of the new system. It's really positive that DWP has recognised the importance of making this change whilst dealing with significant increases in benefit claimants.