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Advice on direct payments of housing benefits

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has published findings on pilots testing the direct payment of housing benefit to tenants rather than landlords.

The DWP has also announced it is extending the pilots for another six months.

In response, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said: “Citizens Advice Bureaux are at the heart of the Government’s welfare reforms, helping to prevent and mitigate the effects of people falling into rent arrears as they cope with new rent arrangements.

“Bureaux are supporting people in pilot areas with face-to-face advice on budgeting and managing their personal finances, so that landlords and tenants can get it right first time.  It is thanks to intensive support like this that helps people manage.

“The Government must make sure everyone who needs it gets this type of support if it wants to achieve its aims of simplifying the benefits system through the introduction of Universal Credit, of which direct housing benefit payments are an important part.

“CABs are the go-to place for help with changes to the benefit system, supporting people to navigate new systems. DWP asked housing associations tenants where they go to for advice on money management, bank accounts or debt problems. CAB was the most common answer – no other source came close.  The Service is keeping a watchful eye and will sound the alarm bell if they identify people suffering problems due to the way Universal Credit is being implemented.”

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