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More must be done to help social housing tenants access desperately needed funds

SFHA tells Social Security Committee changes are needed to stop social housing tenants being dragged further into poverty.

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SFHA has told the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee that a number of changes are needed to stop social housing tenants being dragged further into poverty.

In its submission to the committee’s inquiry into benefit take-up, SFHA called for action to support the significant proportion of housing association tenants reliant on social security but who do not take-up all the benefits they are entitled to.

It is estimated 40% of those eligible are not in receipt of Pension Credit, whilst 10% of social housing tenants entitled to housing benefit do not receive it. 

SFHA recently welcomed the Scottish Government’s new Benefit Take-up Fund to support third sector organisations to address barriers that prevent people from applying for benefits.

However, SFHA told the parliament that, whilst social housing tenants are better supported than those in the private sector, social landlords cannot be expected to make-up for the shortfall of skilled staff in DWP service centres.

SFHA Policy Lead Jeremy Hewer said: “The longer it takes to wait for telephone enquiries to be answered, the fewer the number housing support staff can help and the longer the backlog of cases. Dedicated phone numbers for representatives, as used to be the case with HMRC, would be very helpful.

“Take-up would be further improved by implicit consent being allowed as would proper resourcing of service centres.”

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