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Advisers discuss benefit changes at Law Centre meeting

Adviser's meeting

This week at the Law Centre, well attended social security practitioner meetings discussed changes to residence rules for benefit claimants.

Participants at the Belfast and Western Area meetings came from Advice NI, Belfast City Council, Ark Housing Association, Shankill CAB, Bryson Energy, Wolfhill Advice Centre, Ballynafeigh Community Development Association, Falls CAB Royal Victoria Hospital Outreach team, South City Resource and Development Centre, Ligoniel Improvement Association, North Belfast Advice Partnership, Strabane CAB, NICEM North West and Resource Centre Derry.


Law Centre legal advisers started with a presentation on changes to benefit rules affecting migrants and people returning to Northern Ireland after absences abroad. 

The changes affect UK citizens as well as migrants. They have not yet been considered by the courts and it remains to be seen whether all of the new amendments are compatible with EU law.


The presentation was followed by lively discussions on related issues encountered by frontline advisers in their day-to-day advice work.

We also covered test case issues and common problems on DLA and ESA.

If you  missed it

If you were not able to attend, you can see the presentation here: 

EU nationals and benefits: update on 2014 changes 

and read the related briefing here: 

Timeline of changes to the habitual residence and right to reside requirements

Anyone interested in attending the next social security practitioner meeting, in Belfast or Western area, should email Margaret Reid ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to be added to the mailing list, and watch out for updates on our website.

Practitioner meetings are free and are organised quarterly to provide updates to social security advisers in Belfast and the West.

The Law Centre is always interested in hearing from advisers about problems encountered and cases relating to policy issues arising from these changes.  We welcome new participants at practitioner meetings, and we would also like to encourage member advisers to ring our advice line with any queries.



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