Housing Benefit - Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: Can you tell me why I or my tenant has rent arrears when in receipt of Housing Benefit?

Answer: There are a number of circumstances which may prevent a person from receiving support towards their rent, for example:

Their benefit may have been suspended following a change in circumstance
We may not be able to award them benefit to cover the full level of rent they are charged in accordance with legislation
Their benefit is usually paid in arrears whereas their rent liability may be payable in advance
They have a non-dependant deduction applied to their benefit and they have not paid the shortfall to their landlord
We are recovering an overpayment of housing benefit from their ongoing payments and they have not paid the shortfall to their landlord
A benefit application assessment is outstanding, which could be delayed pending further information/evidence being provided. - Related Link

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Question: What are the levels of Local Housing Allowance for the Island?

Answer: For more information about Local Housing Allowance, please visit the link below: - Related Link

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Question: Can I have my Housing Benefit paid to my Landlord?

Answer: The Council can decide to make payment direct to a landlord in exceptional circumstances for a determined period of time. To request for payments of Housing Benefit to be paid direct to your landlord, you will need to compete the online application form by clicking on the related link below.

- Related Link

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Question: If someone moves in with me and they are over 18 years of age, will this affect my claim?

Answer: In most cases yes this will have an affect on your claim. Depending on who this is and the relationship to the claimant, it could increase the number of bedrooms required for your needs, your personal allowances or a non-dependant deduction may be applied.

The Benefits office will require the full name of the person moving in, their date of birth, income, and their relationship to you. These details will need to be advised immediately in writing to ensure the correct level of benefit is awarded and to avoid any overpayment of benefit that will need to be repaid. Please email the Benefit Service at housing.benefit@iow.gov.uk or write to Revenues and Benefits Services, PO BOX 238, Newport, PO30 9FP .

Please see below link for further information - Related Link

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Question: Will Universal Credit affect me if I am of Pension Credit age?

Answer: If you are of pension credit age and do not have a partner OR you and your partner are both of pension credit age, you are not required to claim Universal Credit.

If you are working age and your partner is of pension credit age, you will need to check with the Department of Works and Pensions to see if you are eligible to claim Universal Credit.

If you are unsure when you will reach pension credit age you can check this online via the related link.
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Question: How is Universal Credit paid?

Answer: Universal Credit is paid in one single payment, by bank transfer, direct to your bank account. Most High street banks now offer a basic bank account that is accessible to all.

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Question: Will my landlord still receive my housing element of Universal Credit directly?

Answer: No. Part of your Universal Credit that is paid towards your rent (housing element), will ordinarily be paid directly to you as part of your single monthly Universal Credit payment and you will be responsible for paying your rent to your Landlord.

In some circumstances the Universal Credit payment can be split, and the Housing Element can be paid directly to you Landlord. This is called an “Alternative Payment Arrangement”. Further information is available on Gov.uk
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Question: What happens if I move out of a Universal Credit Full Service area?

Answer: If you move out of a Universal Credit Full Service area you will still continue to receive Universal Credit, as long as you are still entitled to the award. Once Universal Credit has been awarded, you will continue on this benefit and will not move over to a “legacy” benefit.

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Question: What can I do if the Housing element of my Universal Credit does not meet my full rent?

Answer: If there is a shortfall in the amount of Universal Credit you receive towards your rent, and your actual rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

A DHP can be made to help top up your Housing element should you be suffering financial hardship although no guarantee can be made that this will be granted. You will need to apply online for Discretionary Housing Payment with the Isle of Wight Council using the link below.

Discretionary Housing Payments can also be used to help towards your rent in advance, rent deposit or moving costs should you need to move to more suitable accommodation, that you can afford within your own budget.
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Question: What is Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age customers that brings together six of the existing “legacy benefits” to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work. Universal Credit is paid as a single monthly payment direct to the customer.

The six “legacy” benefits are Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This does not include Local Council Tax Support – if you wish to make a claim for this, please apply online by clicking on the link below:

Once your local Jobcentre is under Full Service, you will have to apply for Universal Credit unless you fall into an exception (see ‘Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit) and will be awarded by the Department of Works and Pensions. If you are working age (under pension credit age), depending on your circumstances, you will not be able to claim one of the six “legacy benefits” listed above and instead will need to apply for Universal Credit.
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Question: Does my tenant need to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit ?

Answer:

They will need to claim Universal Credit unless they come under one of the excluded conditions.
Further information for landlords can be found by clicking on the link below:

- Related Link

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Question: If payments are made monthly, how will tenants pay their rent while they are waiting for their first payment of Universal Credit?

Answer: Many new claimants of Universal Credit will be coming from work and will be able to support themselves in the first month using their final payment of earnings.

However, where needed, claimants will be able to ask the Department of Works and Pensions for an advance in the first month of their claim to support them until their first payment is made. This will be a proportion of the full payment and will be recovered over a period of time. If a tenant is in receipt of Housing Benefit directly before claiming Universal Credit, they will automatically receive a transitional payment of Housing Benefit for 14 days whilst waiting for their first Universal Credit payment.

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Question: When will I be affected by Universal Credit?

Answer: Universal Credit is now in full service on the Isle of Wight. Therefore, if you are making a new claim or if you have a change in your circumstances that mean you would need to make a new claim to one of the six “legacy” benefits (Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) you will instead need to claim Universal Credit (unless you are excluded from claiming Universal Credit). For more information please see the Governments website link below.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I apply for Universal Credit?

Answer: You need to claim Universal Credit through the Department for Works & Pension online application. If you have been advised that you are not eligible to claim for Universal Credit at this time, you will need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit at www.iow.gov.uk/housingbenefitonline/ - Related Link

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Question: What evidence do I need to provide with my application for Housing Benefit?

Answer: If you complete your application on-line you will need to review the checklist of evidence that is required. In general we may need to see evidence of your identity, national insurance number, evidence of your income, capital, savings and investments, and proof of your rent for both you and any partner who is included on your claim.
We would encourage claimants to provide any supporting evidence within 24 - 48 hours of submitting their claim to avoid any delays in assessing their benefit award and making payment. The quicker the information is provided the sooner the benefit can be considered.
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Question: Who is excluded from claiming Universal Credit?

Answer: You cannot make a new claim to Housing Benefit unless you meet one of the following conditions –

• If you are a resident in supported exempt accommodation or you have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Isle of Wight Council's Homelessness team you must inform Universal
Credit of this and make a claim for Housing Benefit with Isle of Wight Council.
• If you have reached State Pension Credit age.
• You are part of a couple where one of you has reached State Pension Credit age .
• You are receiving Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• You are receiving Contribution-related Employment and Support Allowance with no Universal Credit top up.
• If you are receiving the severe disability premium as part of your Jobseekers Allowance income-based, Employment and Support income-related or Income Support - Related Link

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