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Universal Credit - Tackling areas of scheme causing rent arrears!

This course focuses on how some tenants are struggling with the process of claiming & maintaining their Universal Credit claims, including the housing costs element. This is partly due to DWP applying a more zealous approach to the benefit’s “conditions of entitlement” and validation processes, which are now, all too frequentyly, causing claims to be prematurely suspended and cancelled in 20% of all claims. This, in turn creates unnecessary gaps in entitlement and more frequently overpayments & demands for repayment.

Understanding the claims & payment process; knowing how best to assist tenants, maintain their online claim and report changes in circumstances, via journal, can greatly help avoid delays, suspensions, cancellations, payment problems, disputes & appeals, all of which help to minimise the potential for rent arrears accruing.

This course has been specifically developed for frontline staff, charged with assisting tenants in this challenging environment, to maximise entitlement, minimise & resolve problems and avoid the need for repossession and debt recovery action.

Universal Credit - Tackling areas of scheme causing rent arrears!

The course will examine the following key components:

* How to ensure an effective claim is made and avoid gaps in entitlement, that arise in 20% of cases, when claims are rejected as defective in some way.

*How to reinstate claims prematurely ended by DWP incompetence, secure retrospective awards and reduce or clear arrears.

* How to ensure the tenant’s Standard Allowance & Housing Costs element are correctly assessed and how, acting as scribe, on behalf of your tenant, you can use the online journal to challenge poor decisions & remedy errors quickly.

*Benefit Assessment Periods; payment dates; impact of changes in circumstances that increase/reduce entitlement; role of landlord to “notify” changes seeking “supersession” and “revision”.

* How to deal with changes in circumstances, including couples separating, tenants affected by temporary absences in prison, hospital, residential care etc.

*How to secure “explicit consent” and assist tenants seek “revisions” and secure retrospective awards; challenge inflated Third Party deductions; and assist the tenant submit Mandatory Reconsiderations & Appeals, where the tenancy is being put in jeopardy, due to inaccurate adjudication, causing wholly unnecessary rent arrears.

*Pursuing DWP complaints when APAs are cancelled without justification, causing the HCE to be misused, creating avoidable rent arrears.

*Challenging overpayment demands on behalf of tenants and your organisation. This is becoming a real problem as DWP creates around £6 Billion overpayments per year and have been severely criticised for failing to recover the majority of this aalleged debt. I say alleged, because most overpayments when challenged are reversed.

Who should attend?

This course has been designed for staff working in housing & income management teams, welfare rights, money advice & financial inclusion. It’s intended to underline the increasing importance of Universal Credit’s “housing costs element”, in relation to your tenants’ ability to meet their rent liability and the organisations ambitions to maximise rental revenue, minimise rent arrears and the associated costs of recovery action. The trainer will deliver the course using a PP presentation, exercises, and group discussion.

Bill Irvine

Bill spent 30 years in local government, holding senior positions in Social Work, Housing & Finance. He left as Head of Housing Services (Benefits, Revenues & Advice) at one of the UK’s largest councils. In 2008 he set up a new consultancy business “Housing Benefit Advice & Advocacy” offering advice, training, and advocacy to Councils, RSL’s and private landlords throughout the UK.

Since January 2012 he has been at the forefront of Universal Credit training for both SRS and Private Sector landlords, on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Residential Landlords Association, individual Housing Associations and Charitable bodies, UK wide.

He now owns and operates And publishes regular updating bulletins on Universal Credit to more than 1300 registered subscribers