Increased Age Of Single Person’s Housing Allowance

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2011 National LGBT Conference
8 August 2011
Carried as Amended

This Conference believes that the current housing benefit regulations already put young people at a disadvantage. Single Housing Benefit claimants living in the rented sector who are aged under 25 are classed in secondary legislation as “young individuals” for Housing Benefit purposes. When calculating the amount of Housing Benefit payable they are restricted to the shared accommodation rate (previously known as the shared room rate). Under Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules, this is the rate appropriate to a dwelling where the tenant has exclusive use of only one bedroom and shares at least one of: a kitchen; a bathroom; a toilet; or a room suitable for living in. This Conference also believes this disproportionately affects young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people with many of them forced to live in shared accommodation where they do not feel safe to live as out LGBT people.

This Conference therefore condemns the Government proposal to increase the age limit to 35, meaning that some people may have to move homes, and face other serious and frightening problems as a result. Existing customer’s not receiving transitional protection will be affected on the anniversary date of their claim. Pre LHA cases will move to the shared accommodation rate (formerly known as the single room rent) on the review date of their claim.

The Department for Work and Pensions ‘Equality Impact Assessment’ states “The Department does not hold information on transgender people/sexual orientation and it is not likely that this will be available in the future. However the Government does not envisage a particular impact on these grounds.”

This Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to raise its voice against this change through all the appropriate channels available to it within UNISON and elsewhere.