Universal Credit
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

UC and LHA

Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
Hi 

I am currently on UC and LWCRA and applying for PIP. 

My rent is £600 a month including bills, it's a room within a shared house. 

I get £341.49 from UC which is right for my LHA for my area for a shared house, I then get £139 a month from my council for DHP. 

Which means I am short £120 a month so have to use my standard allowance and LWCRA to supplement my rent. 

Is there any other help I can apply for?

My current flat is not suitable due to it being shared and being quite small, I suffer with Autism and MH issues and it's not easy living here. 

I would be a lot more comfortable in a one bedroom flat where I had my own space and my own kitchen. 

The council are not willing to help as I am not at a risk at becoming homeless. 

I have looked at the rules from moving from Shared to one bedroom on LHA, at the moment I can't do it as I don't meet the requirements. I have been told I need to meet one of the following requirements -

Over 35 - I am 29 
You live with an adult non dependant - not applicable to me
Foster carer - not applicable to me
Receive PIP - In process, but I don't hold out hope. 
Need an extra bedroom for a carer who normally doesn’t live with you - not applicable to me
Under 22 and have been in care - not applicable to me
Spent 3 months in a hostel or homeless - not applicable to me 

I was wondering if there are any other requirements I could try and meet? 

Or is the list above the full list of requirements. 

I did get a message on my UC journal which said - "There are exemptions (those that can go from Shared Accommodation to one bedroom on LHA), for example, severely disabled people, care leavers under 22 years of age or those with a bedroom used by care workers providing overnight care"

I have asked them to clarify what they mean by severely disabled people, they are ignoring my questions on it, I believe they have used the wrong term, as I wouldn't say saying severely disabled is the correct thing to say. I presume the person was referring to PIP?

Any help or advice would be good, as I am struggling to live in a shared house, but I can barely afford the shared house I am in, so I would struggle with the extra cost of moving to a one bedroom self contained. 

Thanks
James 


Replies

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,954

    Scope community team

    edited June 2020
    Hello @Jamesd49

    Sadly they won't help with your full rent costs because they include bills and your standard allowance is intended to be used for those. It's great you have managed to arrange a DHP to cover some of the rent shortfall. To my knowledge there isn't anything else that can help. If you have any other bills that aren't included in your rent you could try and speak with the bill provider as many have special tariffs and rates. 

    With regards to the 1 bedroom LHA and 'severely disabled', they do mean in receipt of PIP (or middle/high rate care DLA for those who haven't moved over yet).

    Unfortunately the exceptions you've listed are the only ones for a 1 bed LHA. Hopefully your PIP claim will be successful and you'll meet the criteria for that exception.
    There would likely be a larger shortfall but is there much of a difference between the shared room rate and actual rental costs of a 1 bed? You'd have to make up the shortfall but it could be an option for you. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,283 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jamesd49 Welcome to the community its great to have you with us. I don't know where you live but that seems high rent for a shared house. Have you looked at typical private rent 1 bedroom flats to compare the prices.

    Hopefully you will be successful in your PIP claim which will assisrt you in meeting the criteria

    Keep us updated on your progress
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @janer1967 - thanks for your reply. It's cheap for where I live, in the last month rental prices have risen in Swindon, I would be looking at £650/£700 for a furnished 1 bedroom self contained, plus bills. But I have no idea how much bills are, as I have never had to pay them, so it's a big jump, but I need a more suitable place because of my health issues. 

    Anybody else got any suggestions? This is causing me real stress and making my health worse 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,265 Disability Gamechanger
    Jamesd49 said:
    @janer1967 - thanks for your reply. It's cheap for where I live, in the last month rental prices have risen in Swindon, I would be looking at £650/£700 for a furnished 1 bedroom self contained, plus bills. But I have no idea how much bills are, as I have never had to pay them, so it's a big jump, but I need a more suitable place because of my health issues. 

    Anybody else got any suggestions? This is causing me real stress and making my health worse 
    I don't have any advice about more funds without PIP, but can offer some idea of bills for a single man in a studio flat that stays home most of the time.

    Water - £30 a month
    Electric - £80 a month (no gas here so heating and hot water is all electric)
    Broadband - £20 a month
    TV licence (if you want live TV) - £12 a month
    Council tax - £10 a month (council tax reduction due to other benefits)

    Does it need to be fully furnished?  You can buy second hand items cheaply to furnish a flat if needed.  And does it need to be one bed or would you be ok with a self contained studio?  Also, could you move further out of town at all?  All of those things reduce rental prices.

    I also have to live alone due to health conditions so fully appreciate your need to move.
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @OverlyAnxious thanks for your email.. 

    I would never have thought bills would be that high, no way I could afford to live on my own.

    I have no money, no savings, so would need furniture when I move in.

    I just need something that's self contained, but they are really expensive. I looked at various areas. 

    Thanks anyway 

     
  • RonniRonni Member Posts: 162 Pioneering
    @Jamesd49
    Your just outside my area.

    Shared communal areas not good at this had them before.

    The Bill's for this area are around 250 a month well mine are.
    Rent is 450.
    You would be better with   Housing associations. Which who I'm with the not in yr area but theres quite a few.
    Many have just finished new builds primarily for elderly. But the have a lot designed for desabled.you dont need adapted one.
    Next time they ask you why you want to move.
    Tell them you have shared kitchen and communal areas. Most of which are not maintain. From the ones I've been in. Some do part furnish some include water rates. And the housing associations have independent living advisors. If you the right one. 

    But it wont happen over night.

    Now a days theres no clinck of fingers and walk into another place. Not for the past 20 years.

    You also might to consider a modern bedsit with yr own kitchen these are cheaper. HA will help with pip assessments and more.  
    Or as someone private landlord. But a bedsit with compactn kitchen.
    You will still have to pay Bill's.
    But you wont help sorting them. 
    The HA does. 

    Good luck.

  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @Ronni

    thanks for the help. 

    I have tried the council and housing associations, but none have anything suited and I would be bottom of their list, some of them are really expensive as well. 

    I am with a private landlord at the moment, but moving to somewhere self accommodated is going to be too much for me, even with 1 bed on LHA, as LHA is so much lower than actual housing costs. 

    I don't think I will get PIP. 

    Any other advice? 


  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,283 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi 

    Have you had a care needs assessment . You can refer yourself on the gov website.

    A occupational adviser will come and assess your needs eg equipment adaptions need for alternative living. They then send this to council if rehoming us recommended and this can move you into a higher banding 

    I got a bungalow this way 
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @janer1967

    yes had a social care assessment - outcome was brain in hand app for my autism and a social worker 3 hours a week, the council have refused to action either, even though they are on my social care assessment outcome, the council was meant to help with my housing, but they never bothered. 

    Any suggestions? 
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,283 Disability Gamechanger
    Can only suggest getting in touch with oh assessor to try get them to chase with actions 
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @janer1967

    Tried, no reply to emails. I had a letter from a senior manager saying they wouldn't action the outcome my assessment, no reason given, I have spoke to a disability lawyer and said they was in breach of the social care act 2014. 
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,283 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry I don't know what else to suggest, what did the lawyer say about action.

    I suggest you speak to welfare rights or shelter 
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who took the time and try and help. 

    I had a letter from the council and they have reduced my DHP, they managed to write me a one page letter, but they never fully explained why. 

    Since they have reduced it they also decided that I owed them money from the last few payments, so they took the money off the payment I got on Monday 15th June, are they able to just take money off people like that? I was given no option of paying it back when I could or even having a review of the issue. It seems very odd that they can do that without fully explain them self. Any suggestions?

    Also I have looked online about rules for DHP, criteria and how it should be managed, I can't really find much, has anybody got any links to rules about DHP? Or can the councils just do what they want. 

    Because all my bills are paid through my estate agent I don't get council tax support, which again I don't agree with. The council have told me that if I pay the council tax myself then I would get support, but because I am not liable then I don't get help, because the council tax bill is in the landlord name. My tenancy agreement clearly says my rent has all bills included and says this includes council tax, which means I am liable, as if I can't pay my rent then my landlord can't pay his bills

    Is there anything I can do?

    Thanks 
    James 


  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    Is there anything else I can do?
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,265 Disability Gamechanger
    Unfortunately, they are correct about the tax.  Council tax reduction can only be done through your own personal council tax account.  It isn't paid directly to you like housing benefit is.

    Regarding the DHP, the council can use their own discretion to decide whether you're eligible or not and different councils use different criteria.  I tried to get one a couple of years ago (before I got PIP) but was refused.  If they believe you've been overpaid, they can just take it from you and claim back the money but should notify you of this.  You can appeal the decision, especially if it'll put you in financial hardship, but they're not under any sort of legal obligation to give it back to you.

    What was the reason they gave for stopping it?

    Really, the best hope you've got at the minute is to get PIP.  I really would focus on that!!
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    Thanks for the reply @OverlyAnxious.

    They sent me a letter, I got it days before they took the money. 

    The letter features no info about appeals or anything. 

    They never gave me a reason for reducing or deducting the money from my next payment, I have asked for this info, they are refusing to provide it. 

    I have given up trying to get PIP, I won't get it, the system and process is impossible to navigate and it's causing me so much stress. 


  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,265 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 2020
    Jamesd49 said:
    Thanks for the reply @OverlyAnxious.

    They sent me a letter, I got it days before they took the money. 

    The letter features no info about appeals or anything. 

    They never gave me a reason for reducing or deducting the money from my next payment, I have asked for this info, they are refusing to provide it. 

    I have given up trying to get PIP, I won't get it, the system and process is impossible to navigate and it's causing me so much stress. 


    There isn't a formal appeal process like with ESA & PIP, I just meant that you could challenge them in writing or by phone but it sounds like you've already done that.  I don't understand why they won't give you the reason.  I can't think what else you could try there.

    PIP is difficult & stressful but it's worth it in the end.  I know it's easy for me to say now I've got it, but it was just over 12 months of hassle and stress from application to tribunal win.
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    Thanks for the reply. 

    Yer I know, normally the council will say at the bottom of letters about how to appeal or raise it to the next level like the ombudsman, but there was nothing on the letter. 

    I have been trying to ring them for 2 months and keep putting it off

    Thanks 
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    Anybody got any advice?
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jamesd49, are you still wanting some advice here? :)
    Community Partner
    Scope

    Tell us what you think?
    Complete our feedback form to help us to improve your community.
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,954

    Scope community team

    Hi @Jamesd49. Unfortunately without PIP there's not a lot else you can do. If you were in receipt of PIP you would be entitled to a higher LHA rate (1 bedroom instead of the shared room rate) which may give you more flexibility to move.
    The usual suggestion is for someone to claim a DHP but you've already done this. 

    Universal Credit unfortunately won't cover your entire rent because your bills are included in it. The housing element will not cover household bills, that's what the standard allowance is for. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    Hi @Adrian_Scope

    Thanks, the issue is my DHP keeps getting decreased, and has the name suggested its never a guarantee to get 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,954

    Scope community team

    The only option would be to speak to your local council @Jamesd49 and ask for them to explain the reasons it has been decreased and see if you can change their mind. They are only every intended as a short-term measure.
    PIP really is your best option in terms of increasing your housing allowance.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • Jamesd49Jamesd49 Member Posts: 77 Listener
    @Adrian_Scope
    thanks for the advice 
Sign in or join us to comment.