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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Government u-turns on 18-21 yr olds “housing costs” cut

Arguably, one of the most controversial welfare reform policies – the decision to disallow the payment of the “housing cost element” in a Universal Claim to 18 – 21 year olds – has been removed by the Government today. Housing Rights welcome what has been described as a “U-Turn” in Government policy.

Since its introduction, Housing Rights have had concerns that the policy risked leaving vulnerable young people with nowhere to live and could lead to an increase in homelessness. While a list of exemptions and interpretative Guidance went some way towards limiting the impact of the controversial policy - this announcement brings welcome certainty, ensuring that all young people will be able to seek assistance with their housing costs.

In a written statement to parliament Esther McVey, work and pensions secretary, announced the government would:

“…amend regulations so that all 18 to 21-year-olds will be entitled to claim support for housing costs in Universal Credit...currently, 18 to 21-year-olds who make a new claim to UC in UC full-service areas need to meet certain requirements to receive housing support. The change I am announcing today means that young people on benefits will be assured that if they secure a tenancy, they will have support towards their housing costs in the normal way...”

The Government have stated that the decision ensures that there are no unintended barriers to young people accessing housing on the basis of their age alone and getting into work.

Read the Government statement in full.

Training Courses from Housing Rights

These changes and more will be covered in our Annual Housing Law Update on the 11 April 2018.  This essential half day seminar will provide you with the must have information on key housing policy and case law developments, including a wealth of legislation and policy changes on welfare reform over the past 12 months.

Tagged In

Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform


Sarah Corrigan

This article was written on 29 March 2018. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.