L&Q teams up with National Housing Federation for resident survey on Universal Credit

Published on 02/07/2020

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L&Q has teamed up with the National Housing Federation and eight other housing associations to look at how the move to Universal Credit impacts claimants’ lives.

The survey, which 718 of our residents took part in, also looked at the reasons some claimants delay making applications.

When the survey was carried out, the biggest reason for residents claiming Universal Credit was ill health (15.6%) followed by unemployment (12.4%).

Although the information was gathered last year, with more people now reliant on Universal Credit, it is even more relevant today.

In fact, during the pandemic, Universal Credit claims among our residents increased from an average of 350 a month, to 1,955 in April – the highest number of claims ever.

The survey gave an insight into how timely and effective support can make a difference to tenants during the assessment period and how adequate advice could enhance their understanding of the new welfare system.

The data collected has helped L&Q to shape our offer for residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

We have been actively contacting all tenants who are new Universal Credit claimants to provide advice and support. This has replaced interviews with Jobcentres that could not go ahead, and we have also been providing vulnerable tenants with intensive one-to-one support through our tenancy sustainment programme. This has meant that they can continue to successfully manage their claims online.

In addition to this we have offered tenants affordable payment plans where necessary and, where they would prefer, rent payments can be made directly from their Universal Credit payment.

Our third-party partner, Pound Advice, has continued to offer residents support, including with budgeting, debt management, and how to maximise their income through claiming the benefits they are entitled to. 

Following the survey response, L&Q has supported the National Housing Federation’s recommendations to government in their report entitled ‘No Time to Wait’, which was published on 19 June. The report can be found here.