The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on LGBTQ+ young people, with many losing their jobs and struggling to pay their rent. We have seen a staggering 118% increase in new referrals from April-August 2020 and rough sleeping has increased by five times, comparing figures from December 2020-December 2021. This illustrates the economic impact that the pandemic has had on our young people, who now are at greater risk of experiencing homelessness and facing unsafe conditions when being forced to sleep rough as sofa surfing is no longer an option.  

Young people under 25 already receive a reduced amount of  Universal Credit standard allowance than over 25s. The £20 uplift provides a vital lifeline for young people. We call on the government to match the allowance for under 25s to the amount that over 25s receive and to extend the £20 uplift beyond 31 March. This is crucial to preventing more LGBTQ+ young people from experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

Universal Credit: what you need to know  

  1. UC is one monthly payment to help you cover your rent and living costs
  2. You can usually get UC if you or your partner you live with are of working age,  have no money coming in/ have a low income and you are:
    • A British or Irish Citizen;
    • A refugee or have humanitarian protection;
    • Have settled status under the EU settlement scheme and;
    • Have indefinite leave to remain
  3. If you 16 or 17 you can also claim UC if you don’t live with your parents because you’re estranged or they can’t support you financially.
  4. You apply online & all appointments are over the phone. If you can’t get online, call the free UC helpline on 0800 328 5644. 
  5. You will have to wait for at least 5 weeks before you get your payment. You can ask for an advance if you need money urgently. This will have to be paid back by taking it away from your future UC monthly payments.
  6. COVID-19 means that more people are applying for UC so there might be a delay in processing your application

UC is not your only option if you are struggling financially:

  • You may be entitled to the furlough scheme. Find out more on the Citizen’s Advice webpage on the Job Retention Scheme.
  • You could get statutory sick pay ( £95.85 a week) if you have a job and are unable to work and have coronavirus symptoms  or you live with someone who does.
  • Depending on your situation you can use the Entitledto, Turn 2 Us and Policy in Practice benefit calculators to see which benefits you could get.
  • Make a referral to akt and we can help you figure out what benefits you might be entitled to.

Some handy resources:

  • Shelter’s webpage on benefits is full of useful information on the type of benefits you can claim, who is eligible and the process of applying. Citizens Advice Bureau also have similar information. 
  • The government’s webpage also includes information on the different types of support you can get if you’ve been affected by Coronavirus, from accessing food to  mental health and wellbeing support.

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