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Asked to change son's ESA to UC

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barandles
barandles Community member Posts: 4 Listener
Hi, confused and distressed about what to do. My (late-twenties) son with multiple difficulties mostly autism based has 2 months ago moved into a care provision which requires rent (house owned by care provider, 24hrs care). Transition is difficult enough as it is. We still manage his money until a future time when provider/social worker takes over duty. When he moved out social worker said we not need worry about rent, all would be arranged. Now provider said had no rent, we find out not been even discussed let alone arranged. Further, social worker says cos son gets (income related) ESA (plus PIP) he needs changing to Universal Credit as no rent paid if ESA. We said from start he gets ESA. And has asked us to ring up 'to swap him to UC'. On my limited knowledge, this worries me sick. Cannot see why he has to forego a clear entitlement - or do we have to take it on chin - or are we worrying without cause? And does he then have to apply JSA and get work expectation despite clear ESA decision he's not able to work. Also even if was swapped, would arrears before UC get paid, and would he be without either ESA or UC even,  for a period while change processed? I thought I heard of council responsibility to pay rent in such cases, but may be wrong. We were so much looking forward to a positive transition so his future is sorted as we get older, but this aspect, and its unknown pressures, are worrying us to extreme. 

Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,250 Disability Gamechanger
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    Before i advise can i just ask if he's living in supported housing?
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • barandles
    barandles Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Yes I think that is it. Carers on site all time to help him with all tasks and needs. He has a bedroom in a house which is for that purpose. Shared, but he's the first one in, others to follow soon.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,250 Disability Gamechanger
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    Then for help with any rent he will need to claim housing benefit, not Universal Credit. This will mean he will remain on his ESA as it is now. You will need to claim housing benefit from his local Authority. See link.https://www.gov.uk/housing-benefit It can be backdated for a maximum of 1 month. 

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • barandles
    barandles Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Thank you. I have been expressly told by his social worker that he has to get UC as a condition of claiming HB, and that his ESA 'is not the right thing to allow a claim on'. I thought this odd but took it face value. I shall tell her your advice. I have however just looked at the DWP info and it suggests new HB claims have to be as a UC claim. I wonder whether UC can be claimed in addition to ESA (to enable funding of rent) and I'm not perceiving this? Maybe I need to go to Citizens Advice and ask them to take over for this issue for me. The provider has already not had 2months rent, so that worries us. I do feel we were told from the onset that it would be no issue and now after thinking no problem existed it is a big issue so there seems some duty for social services to be hands on in sorting this out.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2023
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    barandles said:
    I have however just looked at the DWP info and it suggests new HB claims have to be as a UC claim. 
    Most people cannot help with their rent except through UC and get the housing element of UC (which is not Housing Benefit).

    People in supported accommodation can claim Housing Benefit. They do not need to claim UC to claim Housing Benefit.

    Housing Benefits cannot be made as a UC claim.

    https://www.gov.uk/housing-benefit
    You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either of the following apply:
    • you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing
     The crucial question is whether the accommodation is treated as supported or sheltered accommodation. If it is, a claim must be be claim for Housing Benefits. If it is not, a claim will be needed for UC to include the housing element. If UC is claimed then income based ESA will end.

    Hopefully the local authority may be able to confirm if the accommodation is qualified as supported accommodation.


    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • barandles
    barandles Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Thank you. I need to bounce this thought back to the social worker. He is in care with live-in help. I need to be sure what the classification is.
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