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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Universal Credit statistics show over half of claimants receive help with housing costs

Newly published statistics show 53% of the people who receive help with housing costs under Universal Credit rent privately. Of these, only 59% have the housing costs element paid directly to the landlord, despite the default position being that payments should be made directly to the landlord. The number of cases where payment is made directly to the tenant, rather than the landlord, appears to have increased from the Department’s last issue of statistics, which showed payment being made directly to the tenant in 39% of claims.

Over 50,000 people currently claiming Universal Credit

The statistics show that over 50,000 people were claiming Universal Credit on 31 August 2019 and that the majority of claims were in payment. The main reason for claims not being in payment were that earnings in that month had reduced the claimant’s entitlement to nil. The average amount paid was £640 a month.

Claims and starts

The statistics bulletin states that 7,300 Universal Credit claims were made in August 2019 and 4,880 claims were started and that caution should be exercised when comparing the number of claims and starts in a given month, as the month a claim starts can be different to the month a claim is made. For example, 1,690 of the 7,520 claims made in July 2019 went on to start in August 2019. The bulletin further states that 95,410 claims have been made in Northern Ireland since Universal Credit was introduced in September 2017, but 31% of these claims were never started. No reasons are given for the difference between the number of claims made and the number started, but this can be down to a combination of factors including a person not being eligible, having too much capital, or earnings exceeding the threshold.

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Welfare Reform