Total: £0.00

picture of telephone  click icon for access to housing law in practice reference manual for membersMailing ListTwitterFacebook  YouTube

When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Increased help with rent for care leavers and young homeless people

Young people who have been in care or who have experienced homelessness may be entitled to extra help with their rent from 31 May 2021.

The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Care Leavers and Homeless) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 broaden the existing exemptions for young people under the local housing allowance system for calculating help with rental costs. The effect of the regulations is that a young person may now be entitled to extra help with rent if they

  • are aged between 22 and 25 and spent time in care as a child or young person;
  • have lived in homeless hostels for a total of 3 months or longer since turning 16.

Depending on the young person's location in Northern Ireland the increase can be worth anything between £57 and £195 each month.

What is changing?

The shared accommodation rate (SAR) is the lowest local housing allowance rate. It is only sufficient to help with the costs of renting a room in a shared house or flat. 

The SAR is the maximum amount of universal credit or housing benefit that can be paid to people aged under 35 who

  • do not live with a partner, and
  • do not have any dependent children.

There are a number or exceptions which allow a single person under 35 to get the higher one bedroom LHA rate. This statutory rule broadens two of these exemptions. 

Who is exempt from the shared accommodation rate?

From 31 May a single person with no children who is under 35 will get the increased 1-bedroom rate of LHA if they

  • are aged up to 25 and a care leaver
  • are under 35 and spent at least 3 months in a homeless hostel where they made use of resettlement services (the 3 month period can be aggregated from multiple stays in various homeless hostels)
  • are under 35 and receive the daily living component of PIP, the middle or high rate of the care component of DLA or attendance allowance
  • are under 35 and the subject of risk management arrangements under the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008
  • are under 35 and are a foster carer.

Tagged In

Benefits, Affordability

This article was written on 10 May 2021. 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.