Living in sheltered housing
Generally when you live in sheltered housing you get a Housing Costs Element included in your Universal Credit award to help you pay your rent.
Sometimes, however, some sheltered housing tenants – even though they are getting (or making a new claim for Universal Credit) need to claim Housing Benefit for help with their rent instead.
This is the case where you are considered to be living in ‘specified accommodation’ – because the level of care support or supervision provided is sufficient to count.
See Supported Housing for more information on what is ‘specified accommodation’.
You might find one person in a sheltered housing scheme counts as living in ‘specified accommodation’ but another one doesn’t!
Pauline, 62, has moved to a sheltered housing flat run by a Housing Association. She has a pull cord alarm in her rooms and the scheme manager calls her twice a day to check she is OK. She claimed Universal Credit and stated that she was living in sheltered housing, but as she only receives ‘minimal’ care support or supervision she doesn’t count as living in ‘specified accommodation’ so she gets a Housing Cost Element in her Universal Credit.
Salma, 57, who is getting Universal Credit, lives next door to Pauline in the same sheltered housing complex. But she moved into the scheme following a stroke, in order to receive care as she cannot cope in her old home. The care is provided as a Social Services package and amounts to 27 hours a week.
So she does count as living in ‘specified accommodation’. At first the Housing Benefit Department didn’t accept that it was, but after Salma’s landlord sent a letter explaining the situation they accepted and paid her Housing Benefit back to the date she claimed.
What if I claim Housing Benefit and they say I’m not in ‘specified accommodation’ – but Universal Credit won’t include a Housing Cost Element because they think I should be getting Housing Benefit?
Contact a Benefits Adviser and they can give wording for your journal for the DWP about your Universal Credit.