SFHA submits social security support evidence to parliament

Jeremy Hewer

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has highlighted the need for Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) systems to have the capacity to support Scottish Universal Credit Choices.

Submitting evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee’s inquiry into social security support for housing, the SFHA also calls for a new payment system that would allow direct payment of housing costs to be made at the same time as claimants receives their Universal Credit payment. 

SFHA policy adviser Jeremy Hewer said: “The current payment system being used is the old third party creditor system, which is totally unsuitable for Universal Credit direct payments. Firstly it’s only run once every four weeks, so that direct payments deducted from a claimant’s Universal Credit payment are held, sometimes for weeks, leaving the claimant’s rent account and, indeed, the claimant in a state of limbo.

“Then as the payment runs are four weekly, it means that at least one of the 13 payment runs that take place over the year will have no payment. Fortunately the DWP has made a new payment system a development priority, which cannot come too soon for our members.

“The submission has also given us the opportunity to highlight our Six Asks campaign which calls for improvements to the social security system that we are calling for alongside the other UK housing federations.”

The six asks are:

  1. An end to the five-week wait for first payment
  2. Better data sharing with implicit consent similar to that provided in legacy benefits
  3. A payment system that is workable for direct payments to landlords
  4. More funding for support and advice
  5. To match monthly assessments to earnings within the period
  6. To restore index linking to benefits.

A copy of the SFHA submission can be downloaded here. The SFHA will also be giving oral evidence to the committee on April 4.

Tags: SFHA, welfare

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