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Online survey for low income households about benefit cuts

Image of moneyAdvice NI is very concerned about the impact of welfare cuts on vulnerable, low income households. In the current recession, even more people have become reliant on the social security system.  Advice NI is keen to assess their everyday experiences of a system which has been subjected to very significant cuts.

In order to try and give low income households a voice, Advice NI has developed an online survey aimed at people reliant upon the social security system; including needing help with their mortgage or rent; help with childcare costs; help because they are sick or disabled; or generally finding it difficult to pay bills and make ends meet.

Welfare Cuts Research Survey:  www.surveymonkey.com/s/2RYWQYS

 

We would ask anyone who provides a service to, or knows of, anyone affected by the cuts, to encourage them to log on and complete this survey.

All of the information we collect will be kept in the strictest confidence and used for research purposes only. A report will be produced with the aim of raising awareness of the impact of the welfare cuts on people in Northern Ireland.

Cuts include:

1. Support for Mortgage Interest: shortfall created by the reduction in SMI to the Average Mortgage Rate in October 2010

2. Support for Mortgage Interest: withdrawal of SMI for claimants on IB-JSA for 2 years after 4th January 2009 (impacting from January 2011)

3. Incapacity Benefit re-assessment: IB claimants who fail the Work Capability Assessment during their re-assessment (commencing February 2011)

4. Sure Start Maternity Grant: payment for a second or subsequent child abolished (from 23rd March 2011)

5. Benefit uprating from April 2011: A seemingly technical change to the way benefit increases are worked out will short-change hundreds of thousands of people on benefits over the coming years. Benefits (excluding State Pension and Pension Credit) will be up-rated based on the Consumer Price index rather than the more generous Retail Price Index.

6. Child benefit freeze (from April 2011)

7. Childcare support within tax credits: reduced from 80% to 70% (from April 2011)

8. Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit): the setting of LHA at the 30th percentile, meaning that only about 3 in 10 private rented properties will be at or below the LHA rate (April 2011). The changes mean that private tenants will receive less help with rent payments through Housing Benefit after 1st April, meaning there will be a bigger shortfall between Housing Benefit and the amount owed to the landlord.

If you have any questions, or would like to find out more about this research, please contact Kevin Higgins at Advice NI.

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