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SFHA submits evidence to Social Security Committee

SFHA has submitted evidence to Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee's inquiry into social security support for housing.

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The SFHA has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee's inquiry into social security support for housing.

The submission highlights the need for DWP systems to have the capacity to support Scottish Universal Credit Choices. It also calls for a new payment system that would allow direct payment of housing costs to be made at the same time as claimants receives their Universal Credit payment. 

The current payment system being used is the old third party creditor system, which is considered totally unsuitable for Universal Credit direct payments. As it is only run once every four weeks, it means that direct payments deducted from a claimant's Universal Credit payment are held by the DWP until the next payment run leaving the claimant's rent account and, indeed, the claimant in a state of limbo. As the payment runs are four weekly, it means that at least one of the 13 payment runs that take place over the year will have no payment.

The DWP has made a new payment system a development priority, which is hoped will be in place this year.

The submission also gave the opportunity to highlight the Six Asks campaign being undertaken by the four UK national housing federations (SFHA, NHF, CHC and NIFHA) . The six asks are:

  1. An end to the five-week wait for first payment
  2. Better data sharing with implicit consent similar to that provided in legacy benefits
  3. A payment system that is workable for direct payments to landlords
  4. More funding for support and advice
  5. To match monthly assessments to earnings within the period
  6. To restore index linking to benefits."

A copy of the SFHA submission can be downloaded here either from the Scottish Parliament or SFHA websites. The SFHA will also be giving oral evidence to the Social Security Committee on 4 April.