May 2013 – Exempt Accommodation Rules Reviewed
The DWP is reviewing welfare reform rules for homeless hostels and refuges.
Since April 2013, those in 'supported exempt accommodation' have not been subject to the benefit cap or housing benefit size criteria restrictions (known as the 'bedroom tax').
In addition 'supported exempt accommodation' will be dealt with outside universal credit meaning that the change to a monthly payment cycle and direct payments of housing costs to claimants will not apply.
However, it has recently come to the attention of the DWP that much of the existing provision does not meet the precise definition of 'supported exempt accommodation', and has necessitated a review. Lord Freud has staed
'We would like to make clear our intention to protect refuges and hostels, for example, where care is provided by or arranged through a 'managing agent' rather than the landlord. Such arrangements may not meet the precise definition of exempt accommodation but in all other way the provision is identical to that which does.
Due to the legislative constraints it is not possible to put a solution in place for April. However, officials are working closely with other government departments and key stakeholders to develop workable solutions, through a change to the definition or other means, without increasing current spend.
The revised criteria will be posted here as soon as they become known.