DWP changes Universal Credit direct payments to landlords

Direct rent payments to social landlords for tenants claiming Universal Credit can be paid on a monthly cycle in future following a change agreed by the Work and Pensions Department.

The DWP has agreed to alter the way it delivers Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs), which sees the housing costs element of UC paid straight to landlords rather than being included in a claimant’s monthly allowance.

APAs have traditionally been paid over 13 four-weekly cycles throughout the year, despite being deducted from tenants’ Universal Credit claims on a monthly basis. Social landlords have long complained that the system causes confusion because there is one four-week cycle where no APA money was released.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “We listen carefully to feedback about Universal Credit and continue to make improvements where necessary. We have heard the concerns of social landlords and have moved social landlord payments to a monthly cycle in 2019 as a result.”

Jordane Shaw, policy officer at the NHF, said: “This is a very positive change. We’re pleased the Government has listened to concerns and acted on them. This change will have a real impact on tenants, helping to minimise uncertainty and ensure the benefits system works well for claimants.”

By Patrick Mooney, editor