What is the Universal Credit housing element and how much will you get towards your rent? | The Sun

What is the Universal Credit housing element and how much will you get towards your rent? | The Sun

September 6, 2023

MILLIONS can get help paying for their rent or mortgage through the "housing cost element" of Universal Credit.

But not everyone on the benefit is eligible for support.

Here's everything you need to know about what the housing element is, who is eligible and how to apply.

What is the Universal Credit housing element?

The housing cost element of Universal Credit can be used to pay for housing costs – that means anything like rent, ground rent and service charges.

A service charge is usually paid for the upkeep of communal areas attached to a property.

Council and private tenants can apply for the housing cost element, but you'll only get it if you are the person who pays the bills.

When you make a new claim for Universal Credit your housing costs will usually be paid as part of your Universal Credit payment.

You won't be eligible for payments if you live in a home that's owned by a close relative, like your parents, and neither can full-time students unless you are disabled or have children who rely on you.

The payment is not a loan which means you won't have to pay it back.

How much Universal Credit can you get?

TRYING to work out how much Universal Credit you can get can be overwhelming. 

There are so many different elements that can affect your claim that it makes the whole process even more complicated.

There are a number of free calculators that you can use to help you get an estimate, such as Gov.UK, Citizen's Advice, MoneySavingExpert, StepChange and Turn2Us.

You will need:

  • Details of all your income, such as existing benefits, tax credits, earnings from employment and your pensions,
  • Details of your partner's income if you're married, in a civil partnership or living with someone as a couple. You will be assessed as a couple'
  • Information on any savings you have,
  • How much you pay in Council Tax per year and whether you get any discounts, reductions or exemptions,
  • Details of your rent or mortgage payments,
  • Employment and income information about anyone else living with you, such as grown-up children,
  • Details about your Carer's Allowance if you receive it.

You need to make sure that the information is as accurate as possible so that you can get the truest estimate.

How to apply for the Universal Credit housing support

If you already get Universal Credit, applying for housing payments can be done through your online journal.

If you haven't yet made a claim and want to, you'll have to apply for Universal Credit first.

You can apply for Universal Credit on the government website.

You'll need an email address and must be able to verify your identity online.

If you are applying for housing costs for a privately rented property as part of your Universal Credit claim, you will need to bring evidence of how much your rent is to your new claim interview. This could be:

  • A current tenancy agreement
  • A current rent statement
  • A current rent book, or
  • A signed letter from your landlord

If you live in a socially rented property you won't need to bring this information to your new claim interview.

Instead, you will enter details of your housing costs online, and the Department for Work and Pensions will contact your landlord to confirm that these are correct.

If you need help applying for either housing payments or Universal Credit, there is a helpline on offer – 0800 328 5644.




Universal Credit calculator 2023: How much you can claim


What is a Universal Credit advance payment? How to apply and pay it back


Universal Credit account login: How do I sign in to my online journal?


Fund for Brits on Universal Credit to get help that you DON’T have to pay back

How much rent will Universal Credit pay?

How much you will be entitled to depends on your circumstances, such as where you live and whether you're a private or council tenant.

Private tenant

Your housing costs are calculated using the Local Housing Allowance – you can find out how much you can expect by using the LHA rates tool on the government website.

Universal Credit looks at average rents in your area and the number of rooms you need based on how many in your household depend on your benefits.

For example, if you are a single person under 35 and you don't have any dependant children then your payment will be based on how much it costs to rent a room in shared accommodation.

If you're a parent with one child, then your housing costs will be based on the average price of a two-bed home in your area.

If your home is larger than you need or too expensive then your payment might not cover your rent.

Council and housing association tenants

Your housing costs element is calculated based on how much rent you already pay but also takes into account how many rooms you actually need.

So if your house has more bedrooms than you need then the amount of money you get might not cover your rent.

You're allowed one bedroom for each category below:

  • One per adult couple,
  • Each person over 16,
  • Per two children of the same sex under 16,
  • Per two children under 10, regardless of their sex,
  • Any other child on top of the previous points,
  • An overnight carer you need but doesn't live with you.

If you have any spare rooms in your house then how much help you're entitled to will reduce by:

  • 14% for one spare room,
  • 25% for two or more spare rooms

Your housing payment will usually be reduced if you live with someone who is aged 21 or older and not your partner.

Your payment will not be reduced if you’re any of the following:

  • Getting the care component of disability living allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate
  • Getting the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP)
  • Getting attendance allowance
  • Getting armed forces independence payment
  • Registered as blind

It also will not be reduced if the person aged 21 or older is any of the following:

  • Getting pension credit
  • Getting the care component of disability living allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate
  • Getting the daily living component of personal independence Payment (PIP)
  • Getting attendance allowance
  • Getting armed forces independence payment
  • Getting carer’s allowance
  • Responsible for a child under 5
  • A member of the armed forces away on operations, and is your child or step-child
  • Your sub-tenant, lodger or boarder
  • A prisoner

Can I get the Universal Credit housing element if I have a mortgage?

Homeowners will only be entitled to cash towards paying off the monthly interest payments as long as they aren't earning any income, for example, you've unexpectedly lost your job.

That includes couples, so if you're making a claim together, and one of you earns a wage then neither of you will qualify.

You will only be able to get help if you've been claiming Universal Credit for 39 weeks or more, with no breaks or earned income.

The amount you're entitled to will be based on the interest rate set by your lender applied to the outstanding amount you have on your mortgage, up to £200,000.

There will be a three-month waiting period and payments stop as soon as you start work again, even if you're only earning a small amount.

If you are rejected for help under Universal Credit, you can also apply for a Support for Mortgage Interest Loan instead.

The Government will lend you money for your monthly mortgage payments but you will be charged interest.

How is the Universal Credit housing element paid?

For tenants, the housing cost element will be paid to you as part of your Universal Credit payment and will go straight into your bank account.

In special circumstances, you can request that the payment be made directly to your landlords although this isn't guaranteed.

For homeowners, the SMI is paid directly to your lender.


Source: Read Full Article