Universal Credit for Housing Options


Local authority Housing Options services are required to undertake an assessment where someone is at risk of homelessness. Where a duty is owed, local authorities will need to look into the circumstances of the household and establish their housing needs. Working out what a household can afford, particularly by way of private rented sector discharge, is important. Understanding the benefits that homeless households are receiving and checking Universal Credit payments, as well as checking the Benefit Cap, are key aims of this course. 


Course objectives

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand how the Benefit Cap operates in Universal Credit and when claimants are likely to be affected;

  • Understand how Universal Credit affects the wider benefits system and how UC interacts with other benefits;

  • Know who can claim Universal Credit including an awareness of restrictions in respect of mixed age couples, people from abroad, young people, students, people with capital and how absences from the normal home are treated;

  • Know when a claimant should claim Universal Credit in respect of their housing costs, and when they should claim Housing Benefit instead; 

  • Understand the eligibility rules for the various elements that can be included in a UC award;

  • Understand how the Local Housing Allowance rules operate in UC including exemptions for the Shared Accommodation Rate; 

  • Understand how different forms of income affect a UC award including earnings for people who are employed and net profits for those who are self-employed; 

  • Have practised calculating UC for a range of scenarios; 

  • Be able to anticipate the make up of likely awards at the point of application and check that they are correct once an entitlement decision has been made..

  • Have access to any course-related question for 12 months after the course.


Methods of delivery

This course is delivered online live with a BTC trainer. It is a practical course delivered using a combination of trainer presentation, exercises and case studies, group discussion and games. Participants will be provided with e-learning supporting material including PowerPoint slides and a comprehensive training pack pdf as well as access to a recording of the course module for a limited time after the course.


Suitable for

This course is intended for Housing Options staff working with Universal Credit claimants who are moving into privately rented accommodation. A basic knowledge of the wider benefits system is assumed. Staff new to the benefits system should consider first attending our Introduction to Welfare Benefits course.