How we’re working with DWP to manage the increased demands on Universal Credit

12 May 2020

Residents need financial security in the longer term to manage ongoing rent payments. Alongside housing association federations across the UK, we’re working with DWP to help.

As part of the Four Federations – housing association federations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – we have written to Will Quince, Minister for Welfare Delivery at DWP. Our letter commends the department for dealing with the unprecedented demand from people trying to make a claim for Universal Credit, but also raises the need for a new system to pay Managed Payments to Landlords in the social rented sector.  

According to new Universal Credit statistics, 2.3 million individuals or households have provided information to start a claim since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. Our letter commends the huge effort from DWP staff to deal with this volume of claims, including making over 800,000 Advance Payments.

A new system to pay Managed Payments to Landlords in the social rented sector

We’ve set out the need to focus staff resources on supporting tenants to manage through this crisis. Residents and housing associations need to be able to keep track of rent paid. The current payment system for Managed Payments to Landlords makes this very hard.

A fix to this system has been tested and is ready to roll out. We are asking DWP to ensure that implementation of the aligned payment system will be prioritised as soon as capacity becomes available. This will give residents immediate reassurance that their rent is paid. It will also mean housing association frontline services can freed up allowing more time to support tenants.

Our ongoing work – and how you can shape it

We continue to share with DWP:

  • Ongoing issues with Universal Credit service and the impact on tenants and arrears.
  • The need to address gaps in the level of support available including suspending the Household Benefit Cap to make sure that families can afford their housing or can move from unsuitable Temporary Accommodation.
  • The offer from the housing sector to work in partnership with DWP services to support people to manage and maintain benefit claims.

We want to hear about your organisation and residents’ experience of the Universal Credit service. Please complete our monthly survey or contact Sue Ramsden, Policy Leader at the NHF. 

Who to speak to

Joe Waters, External Affairs Manager