Welfare changes November 16-January 17
Recent changes in Northern Ireland welfare reform:
15 November 16 - New provisions on changes to overpayments and how they can be recovered come into effect
28 November 16 - Discretionary Support Payments replace parts of the discretionary Social Fund (Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants). Budgeting loans will remain (probably until full introduction of Universal Credit)
December 16 - Start of “managed reassessments” of existing DLA claimants for PIP
16 January 2017 - For Income Support, the age of the youngest child for which a person is responsible in order to be treated as a lone parent changes from 7 to 5 years old, with a phased-in process for existing claimants. Similar changes are made to JSA regarding availability for work for lone parents where the youngest child is aged 5.
Bedroom tax - The Housing Executive has issued guidelines for tenants on the 'bedroom tax'.
If a household is considered to be ‘under-occupying’, the rent used to calculate Housing Benefit will reduce by:
- 14% if under-occupied by 1 bedroom, or
- 25% if under-occupied by 2 or more bedrooms
There are mitigations in place for those affected but only until 31 March 2020.
Affected by welfare reform? Ring the Independent Welfare Reform Helpline: 0808 802 0020
For more information on welfare reform issues, visit: www.lawcentreni.org/welfare-reform.html