The issue of the definition of “exempt accommodation” has been a key concern for many housing associations with supported housing. Under the previous Department for Work and Pension (DWP) definition of “exempt accommodation” many of the commissioning arrangements within supported housing were not reflected. This led to concerns that tenants within supported housing schemes which are not classified as exempt would potentially be affected by welfare reform policies such as direct payments, the benefit cap and size criteria.
The DWP introduced a new category of “specified accommodation” to attempt to resolve some of these issues.
This briefing, covering the definition of specified accommodation and how it interacts with Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, was produced with Sitra, who have now joined Homeless Link.
The briefing was originally published in 2014 but was updated in 2018 to reflect the current situation with Universal Credit.