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First set of rules on Northern Ireland's welfare reform applies from today

The first set of regulations regarding the implementation of welfare reform in Northern Ireland has been published.

Today 17 February, the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2016 (SR.No.46/2016) brings into force some of the provisions of the Welfare Reform Act, including provisions on: 

  • removal of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in youth
  • dual entitlement to ESA
  • the Social Fund and discretionary payments to persons suffering disadvantage
  • the benefit cap
  • information sharing
  • application of the limitation on recovery of benefit overpayments
  • regulations making powers for Jobseeker's Allowance

The regulations also cover provisions coming into force at later dates:

4 April 2016

  • other provisions on the recovery of overpayments
  • penalties as alternative to prosecution

13 June 2016

  • new time limits for entitlement to contributory ESA and entitlement after the time limit has been reached

16 January 2017

  • entitlement to Income Support for lone parents restricted to those with children under 5 years of age.


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