New regulations on discretionary support published
Regulations on discretionary support payments in the form of grants and loans in Northern Ireland were published on 11 July.
The new system will come into operation when Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants are abolished. This is currently planned for November 2016.
Discretionary support will be provided through loans for:
- immediate assistance with short term living expenses;
- household items, or assistance with the repair or replacement of household items;
- travelling expenses in proscribed circumstances; or
- rent in advance to a landlord other than the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Discretionary support will be awarded through grants where:
- the grant is to provide assistance for a claimant or their immediate family to remain or begin living independently in the community;
- the claimant or their immediate family are prevented from remaining in their home;
- the grant is to provide assistance in the form of living expenses where the claimant is over the acceptable debt threshold; or
- the claimant is eligible for a loan for living expenses and cannot afford to make repayment.
The regulations also set out provisions in relation to:
- claims and payments,
- eligibility conditions including income and capital,
- recovery methods and the provisions required in any review process which may be set up under the regulations.