Housing Benefit: Shared Housing

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of James Murray James Murray Labour/Co-operative, Ealing North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons exemptions from the shared accommodation rate are not available for people aged under 25 who have experienced homelessness.

Photo of James Murray James Murray Labour/Co-operative, Ealing North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what evidence base was used to determine that people aged between 25 and 35 who have experienced homelessness should be eligible for an exemption from the local housing allowance shared accommodation rate and that people aged under 25 should not.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

An exemption from the shared accommodation rate for those aged 25-34 who have spent three months or more in homeless hostel was introduced in 2012 when the age limit for the shared accommodation rate was increased from 25 to 35. The exemption addressed concerns raised by the Social Security and Advisory Committee about the impact of these changes on rough sleepers. The exemption is designed to target people receiving a sustained programme of rehabilitation rather than people who have sporadic, short term says.

Housing Benefit rules should reflect the housing expectations of people of a similar age not in receipt of benefits. For other individuals who may require more support and whose circumstances may make it difficult for them to share accommodation, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. DHP funding, from 2011 over £1 billion to date and an additional £40 million for Discretionary Housing Payments in 2020/21, will enable local authorities to consider individual circumstances and provide longer-term support for more vulnerable claimants.

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