The welfare reforms expected the core jobless to go back to work or take up education and training.  There is an anomaly with student loans in Scotland whereby housing benefit must be paid out of the student loan.

Unfortunately, the SAAS and student services do not inform about the anomaly even on the SAAS website and a person may only apply for student fee exemption without realising that they must also take out a student loan to pay their rent as housing benefit no longer applies.

Housing Benefit Regulation s.64 (3)  (b).

'A student shall be treated as possessing a student loan in respect of an academic year where (a) a student loan has been made to him in respect of that year or (b) he could acquire such a loan in respect of that year by taking reasonable steps to do so."

This anomaly causes an overpayment of housing benefit with subsequent claw back which places the student in arrears of rent.  If in arrears a landlord can use this as a reason to evict, the student then becomes homeless.

However, it is possible to get a discretionary payment from the Council to pay the arrears but this does not garantee that a valid notice to quit if served timeously will not still mean a student is homeless.

Why is this idea important?

This is important because the spirt of the welfare reforms is that the core jobless are expected to engage in welfare reforms and take up college courses.  The core jobless are (lone parents, age 50+, disabled, mentally disabled, NEET, homeless, ex-prisoners and others) and they run the risk of losing their home if they engage in the welfare reforms.

There is then a redtape exercise to deal with arrears which the Council caused in the first place by endangering the tenancy by clawing back as an overpayment.

This is contrary to the spirit of the welfare reforms to get the core jobless back to paid employment.  With no signposting a person can inadvertently fall into this anomaly and lose their home.

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