Changes from January 2012 to Housing benefit for single persons aged 25-35
Published: Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Single and aged between 25 - 35? What's changing?
The Government is extending the age group for single young people who can only claim the shared accommodation rate to help with their rent (rather than being able to claim for self-contained one-bedroom accommodation).
Currently the conditions below apply to individuals under 25, this will be extended to 35 from the 1st January 2012 This means you may only be entitled to the lower rate of Housing Benefit for a room in shared accommodation if all of the following apply:
- You are a single person
- You are occupying one-bedroom or larger self-contained accommodation in the private rented sector
- Your Housing Benefit is due to be reviewed from January 2012 onwards or you apply for housing benefit from the 1st January 2012
- You are aged 25 or over but under 35 years at the date of the review or new claim
- You are not covered by any of the exemptions on sharing accommodation.
What are the exemptions?
- You are aged 25 -35 and you have a non dependant resident in the property
- You are aged 25 - 35 and qualify for a Severe disability premium in the assessment of your Housing Benefit or your Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance
- You are aged 25- 35 and have spent at least 3 months in a specialized hostel for homeless people
- You are aged 25-35 and are subject to Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
The rules for under 25's will remain the same with the current exemptions still being applied, however exemption 3 and 4 above will not apply to under 25's. If you believe you may be entitled to an exemption but are not receiving it please contact Kettering Borough Council.
Certain customers will receive transitional protection; this means that the change will be implemented 9 months after it was due to. This protection can end early if you have a break in your claim, move, or the size of property you need changes.
How will it affect me?
These changes will affect different types of customer in different ways, these are detailed below:
- If you have been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit since the 31st March 2011 and claimed before the 31st March 2011 your benefit will change on the first anniversary date of your claim that falls after the 1st April 2011, however you will receive 9 months transitional protection.
- If you have claimed housing benefit after the 1st of April 2011 (but before the 1st January 2012) or there has been a break in your claim since the 1st of April 2011 then your benefit will change on the first anniversary of your claim
- If you claim housing benefit after the 1st January 2012 you will automatically receive the Shared Accommodation Rate
In the cases of 1 & 2 we will be writing to each customer individually explaining when the rate will fall, cases that fall under the 3rd rule will be notified on their initial award letter.
How much benefit will I get?
Every claim is based on an individual assessment so we cannot say what each person will get, however the maximum benefit you will be able to receive is the shared accommodation rate. The Shared accommodation rate can change every month and as we have to use the rate that applies when the change affects you we can accurately warn you in advance of the new rate, however the rate since January 2011 has been £57 and we do not envisage that this will change dramatically. We will be advising customers of their correct award as soon as we have the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) figures for the relevant month which is normally about 1 week before the end of the previous month.
What if I cant afford my rent after the change?
The above changes will have a significant impact on some customers with reductions in housing benefit of potentially over £20 per week, if you find yourself with a shortfall between your benefit and rent that you cannot afford we recommend the following options.
- Ask your landlord if there can be any rent reduction, particularly if there is only a small shortfall. We can also ensure payments go straight to your landlord in this scenario if the change secures and retains your tenancy
- Seek alternative accommodation, this may be the best option if there is a very large shortfall between benefit and rent
- Speak to the housing options team at Kettering Borough Council, they can assess your needs and give you help and advice on finding alternative accommodation
- Apply for a discretionary housing payment. Kettering Borough Council has a limited pot of money that it can use to assist people with exceptional circumstances and generally on a short term basis. This is awarded on a case by case basis and there is no guarantee of an award or the amount.
In all cases it is important that you act as soon as you realize that there may be a problem paying your rent.
We will keep our website updated with changes www.kettering.gov.uk/LHA
For all telephone enquiries please contact 01536 410333
For face to face enquiries please call into our main office at: Bowling Green Road Kettering Northants NN15 7QX
Or visit of our sub offices in the libraries at Burton Latimer, Rothwell, & Desborough