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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

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