Direct payment of Universal Credit to landlords
SAL has long campaigned for tenants to have the choice to have their housing benefit paid directly to their landlord.
Therefore we are delighted that the Scottish Government has laid regulations before Parliament affording this right to tenants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC).
It is intended that new claimants in areas where the full UC service has been rolled out will be able to make this choice from October 2017 with it gradually being extended to all UC claimants as the roll out of the full UC service continues.
Recipients of UC will also have the option of having it paid to them twice a month rather than monthly. These changes are intended to provide more choice and control over UC payments, as well as safeguarding tenancies and preventing the build up of rent arrears. These changes will only apply to UC claimants in Scotland and have been introduced under new devolved powers agreed in the Scotland Act 2016.
Devolution of social security powers
Historic legislation to establish Scotland’s first social security system has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament. The Social Security (Scotland) Bill 2017 will give the Scottish Government the powers to deliver eleven benefits devolved as part of the Scotland Act 2016, including discretionary housing benefit (DHP) and some UC powers including those detailed above. A new Scottish social security agency will be set up to pay these benefits with the exception of DHP which will continue to be delivered by local authorities.