This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

18 to 21 year olds condition - now revoked

This content applies to England

Entitlement to the housing costs element of universal credit for 18-21 year-old claimants.

Introduction

Until 31 December 2018, 18 to 21 year old claimants claiming universal credit in a 'full service' area were not eligible for the housing costs element of universal credit unless they were in an exempted group. From 31 December 2018, regulations restored eligibility for housing costs for 18 to 21 year-olds.[1]

Prior to this date, the situation described below applied.

General rule

From 1 April 2017 to 30 December 2018, single claimants aged 18, 19, 20 or 21 were not entitled to the housing costs element of universal credit to help pay their rent if they were not in an exempted group.[2]

This did not affect a claimant aged 18 to 21 who was:[3]

  • claiming in a universal credit live service area (ie not a full service area)
  • making a joint claim as a couple
  • an owner-occupier
  • in receipt of the housing costs element of universal credit or housing benefit immediately before 1 April 2017 (this exemption will no longer apply if there is a break in claim)
  • in an exempted group.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issued guidance on the regulations in Memo ADM 6/17.

Groups exempted

A claimant aged 18 to 21 in a full service area was exempt from the restrictions if they were:[4]

  • responsible for a child or qualifying young person
  • (when aged 16 or 17), an eligible or relevant child under the leaving care provisions of the Children Act 1989
  • receiving the care component (middle or highest rate) of disability living allowance or the daily living component of personal independence payment
  • receiving armed forces independence payment[5]
  • an ex-offender subject to multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA)
  • in temporary accommodation following a homelessness application and the rent was payable to a local authority or private registered provider of social housing (however, for universal credit claims made on or after 11 April 2018, rent or a licence fee paid in relation to temporary accommodation will not count as rent. See Payment condition for details)
  • without parents, or neither parent was living in Great Britain
  • a victim of, or threatened with, domestic violence by a partner, former partner or family member
  • (in the opinion of the DWP) unable to live with their parents, including where there was a serious risk to health or of significant harm
  • in the ‘all work requirements’ group but expected to work (or search for work) for less than 35 hours a week due to:[6]
    • caring responsibilities
    • physical or mental impairment
    • being the main carer for a foster child
  • a person who had their ‘work search’ requirement suspended, for reasons including being a claimant:[7]
    • on a structured recovery-orientated course of alcohol or drug dependency treatment for up to six months
    • whose child or partner died within the last six months
    • in prison
    • unfit for work for up to 14 days (only two such periods are allowed in any 12-month period)
  • not in the ‘all work requirements’ group.

The ‘all work requirements’ group means, broadly speaking, that the claimant is expected to be available for and actively seeking work. For more information about this and the other conditionality groups see Claimant Commitment.

In addition, between 1 April 2017 and 30 December 2018, a 18 to 21 year old was entitled to the housing costs element of universal credit to help pay the rent if their earning were above a certain level, namely:[8]

  • above a prescribed amount in a monthly assessment period ie 16 hours or more at the appropriate minimum wage level
  • in each of the previous six months s/he had earned more than the prescribed amount (this exemption only applied for six months).

Full and live service area

A ‘full service area’ is one where there are no restrictions on the type of claimant who can claim universal credit.

In a ‘live service area’ there were restrictions on who can claim universal credit (full service applies to all areas from the end of December 2018).

Wales

The information on this page reflects the law as applicable in England. Go to Shelter Cymru to check for variations applicable in Wales.

[1] Universal Credit and Jobseeker's Allowance (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1129; see also written statement HCWS611 available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-03-29/HCWS611

[2] Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252; ADM Memo 6/17.

[3] regs 3 and 4 Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252; para 4A Sch 4 Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376 as inserted by Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252.

[4] paras 4B Sch 4 Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376 as inserted by Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252.

[5] para 4B(1)(b) Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376 as amended by reg 3(13)(b)(i)(aa) Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments, Saving and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/65.

[6] for full definition see reg 88 Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376.

[7] for full definition see reg 99 Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376.

[8] para 4C Sch 4 Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376 as inserted by Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252.

Back to top