July 2014 Jobseekers Allowance & Homelessness

From 21 July 2014, new JSA amendment regulations provide that claimants who have recently become homeless are to be treated as available for employment where they are taking reasonable steps to find living accommodation.

In practice, homeless claimants can focus on finding accommodation and still be treated as available and actively seeking work for a period longer than 1 week. The actual amount of time a claimant can prioritise their housing situation is likely to depend on their circumstances and what is agreed with their work coach. The new regulations also allow for this adjustment in jobseeking activities on more than four occasions in any 52 week period. This should help those living in temporary accommodation or claimants more at risk of homelessness to maintain a claim for benefit.

The DWP will be providing guidance on the timescales associated with 'recently' homeless but this is likely to mean since a claimant last signed on for benefit. What steps are reasonable to find accommodation will depend on each claimant’s circumstances and capabilities and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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