To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the universal credit standard allowance for claimants aged under 25 who live independently to align with the amount received by claimants aged over 25.
19 January 2021
The £20 per week uplift to everyone on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021.
The lower rates for younger claimants under 25 years reflects the fact that they are more likely to live in someone else's household and have lower living costs and lower earnings expectations. It also reinforces the stronger work incentives that Universal Credit creates for this age group which have been aided by the Department’s £2bn Kickstart scheme which is already creating thousands of high-quality jobs for young people.
For claimants who live independently, Universal Credit already includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers.
Care leavers up to the age of 22 are exempt from the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Shared Accommodation Rate and are entitled to the higher, one bed LHA rate.
For those who require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHPs to local authorities to support households with their housing costs.