Benefit changes in supported housing

The Government's making changes to the benefit system. You might have heard this being called 'welfare reform'. You can find out all about these on our Changes to benefits page. But if you live in Supported Housing the changes might not affect you in the same way as it affects other residents. Find out more by reading on...

Why is supported housing different?

Our supported housing includes the following kinds of accommodation:

  • Sheltered housing
  • Extra care housing
  • Young people’s housing
  • Housing for people with learning disabilities or mental health difficulties
  • Housing managed on our behalf by other support providers.

One of the main reasons why the changes can be different for people living in supported housing is the “Exempt Accommodation” rule. If you live in supported housing that counts as Exempt Accommodation, certain restrictions on Housing Benefit will not apply to you.

What is Exempt Accommodation?

Your supported housing may be Exempt Accommodation if we provide the support that you receive. Your housing may also be exempt if another organisation provides your support on our behalf. When claiming Housing Benefit, this support is known as “care, support or supervision”.

In Exempt Accommodation, the following welfare reforms do not apply:

  • Universal Credit 
  • The benefit cap

This means that, in most cases, your rent and service charges (other than personal service charges) will be eligible for Housing Benefit in full. Your entitlement to Housing Benefit will not be lower as a result of Universal Credit or the benefit cap.

However, you may still be affected by the bedroom tax, if your accommodation has more bedrooms than the Government thinks you need.

Is my accommodation exempt?

For your home to be exempt, it must first count as supported housing. If you live in ordinary housing, your accommodation won't be exempt, even if you get support (including Floating Support) from us.

If you live in supported housing, your accommodation will probably be exempt if we provide your support. This support may be provided by our staff, or by staff employed by another organisation that provides support on our behalf.

What happens if my accommodation isn't exempt?

If you don't live in Exempt Accommodation, you may be affected by Universal Credit and the benefit cap.

However, if you are over Pension Credit Age, Universal Credit won't apply to you.  

If you need any advice about welfare reform or exempt accommodation, please get in touch.