Housing component of Income Support (FOI)
Housing component of Income Support (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 11 May 2018.
In respect of claiming the Housing Component of Income Support, Social Security Department literature states the following:
"If you are a single person you will only receive help with our fair rent for a bedsit / studio flat."
Prior to the introduction of the Income Support Scheme in 2008, a single person could receive rent rebate up to the fair rent level for a one bedroom flat.
Please supply the following:
A copy of the decision, whether that be a ministerial decision or a States Assembly decision, to change this policy in order to henceforth restrict the level of rent support available to single people on Income Support to the maximum fair rent for a bedsit. This information should clarify the date when this decision was taken and who took it as well as the date when the policy came into force.
A copy of any internal report or study upon which the decision to restrict the Income Support Housing Component for single people to the maximum fair rent for a bedsit was based.
The number of Income Support households who were living in bedsits in 2017 and whether this accommodation was classed as lodgings or bedsits.
The Income Support (Jersey) Regulations, first approved on the 10/10/2007 by the States of Jersey as P.90/2007, contain the following criteria in Schedule 1 paragraph 4 for the award of the housing component of Income Support.
4 Rates for the housing component
(1) If the dwelling is occupied under the terms of a lease or a licence, the housing component payable is –
(a) the actual weekly rent payable;
(b) if the dwelling is appropriate to the needs of the household, the rate payable under subparagraph (2) in respect of that type of dwelling; or
(c) if the dwelling is not appropriate to the needs of the household, the rate payable under subparagraph (2) in respect of the type of dwelling (flat, house, etc.) that is in fact occupied and that is appropriate to the needs of the household, whichever is the lower.
Under the Income Support legislation, the decision about whether a dwelling is appropriate to the needs of the household is taken by a Determining Officer, who will take all relevant factors into account. To help the Determining Officer, written guidelines are produced. Since 2014, public versions to the guideline have included the following text:
“A single person under pensionable age will only be supported to occupy a bedsit, unless they were already occupying a one bedroom flat or house. However, young people leaving care, people with a disability and people referred via the Supported Housing Group can be allocated a housing component up to the value of a rented one bedroom flat rate in certain circumstances.”
The Department acknowledges that the text provided on the web page and quoted in the question does not fully reflect the policy guideline and the web content has now been updated.
Previous to 2014, the rules were not specified in detail in the public version of the guidelines. The guidelines specified the maximum number of bedrooms available, and did not refer directly to bedsits.
The Department has not undertaken any specific report or study that relates to the rules used to determine appropriate accommodation.
At the end of 2017 there were 518 Income Support households with the property type “bedsit” and of those 62 were classed as lodgings. Within our data, “lodgings” include lodging houses, guest houses, the Shelter or a room within a property rented from the property owner who also lives there.