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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Benefits

Newry and Downpatrick are the next areas in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 16 May 2018.

This new benefit will replace Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance.  Anyone of working age who gets these benefits will be affected.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Back in November 2017, Chancellor for the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, announced a £1.5 billion package to address some of the concerns which have been raised in relation to Universal Credit. One of the main measures introduced was the concept of a “Housing Benefit transitional payment for Universal Credit claimants”.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Affordability

The House of Commons has published a briefing paper “Can private landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?”. The paper discusses private landlords’ reluctance to let to Housing Benefit claimants and considers whether this is a form of discrimination.

Some of the suggested reasons why landlords may be reluctant to rent to Housing Benefit claimants include;

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Benefits, Legislation, Homelessness

A benefit that helps homeowners to pay the interest on their mortgage changes to a loan today.  Local charity Housing Rights is urging households who may be affected to get advice.  The charity’s helpline is already dealing with calls from homeowners who get the benefit, called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), who are unsure what the changes will mean for them.

Arguably, one of the most controversial welfare reform policies – the decision to disallow the payment of the “housing cost element” in a Universal Claim to 18 – 21 year olds – has been removed by the Government today. Housing Rights welcome what has been described as a “U-Turn” in Government policy.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform

From the 6 April 2018, Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) will be changing to a loan.

SMI is a benefit paid towards the interest on a claimants mortgage and some home improvement loans. If a claimant does not opt in, SMI benefit payments will cease and they will have to pay their mortgage interest another way.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Affordability

Housing Rights adviser Amy recently helped 28 year old Ciaran. Ciaran struggled to meet his rent payments after being made redundant.

Sudden change in income

Ciaran lived in private rented accommodation, he had been working full time when he took on his tenancy and was able to fully cover the rent himself.

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Benefits, Regulation, Practical tips, Affordability, Adviser

Omagh and Enniskillen are the next areas in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 21 February 2018.

This new benefit will replace Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance.  Anyone of working age who gets these benefits will be affected.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

The Department for Communities announced today they have reviewed and updated the roll out schedule for Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

As a result, the roll out phase which was due to complete in September 2018 will now be extended to December 2018.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability
Universal Credit logo

Strabane and Lisnagelvin will be the fourth area in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 17 January 2018.

This new benefit will replace Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance.  Anyone of working age who gets these benefits will be affected.

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Benefits, Money Matters

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