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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

Housing Rights has produced a short video to encourage Universal Credit claimants to apply for a rate rebate to help with rates payments. Universal Credit does not provide for any assistance with rates payments. Instead, people receiving Universal Credit will have to submit a separate application for assistance with rates.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Yesterday's cabinet reshuffle saw Esther McVey become the fifth work and pensions secretary in five years. The role carries overall responsibility for the Department of Work and Pensions, including social security benefits such as Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Outside NI

Coleraine and Magherafelt will be the third area in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 13 December 2017.

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, Affordability
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Laura, an adviser at Housing Rights, recently helped a vulnerable client to stay in her home. The client, Mary, was an introductory tenant facing possession due to rent arrears. Laura explains how she helped Mary to stay in her tenancy and to secure a Housing Benefit backdate to offset the arrears.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser

Chancellor for the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, has announced a £1.5 billion package to address some of the concerns which have been raised in relation to Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

In January 2017 the temporary absence rules for Housing Benefit changed. Since then, there has been a four-week limit placed on absences outside Northern Ireland. If a person is absent from Northern Ireland for more than four weeks, that person is no longer entitled to receive Housing Benefit, unless the absence is for specific reasons.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

The Government has responded to a House of Lords Committee report on financial exclusion. In its response, it has rejected Committee recommendations to remove the requirement to remove waiting days from Universal Credit for all claimants and to allow direct payment of housing costs to landlords in England and Wales.

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

The Prime Minister has announced that the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap will not be applied to social housing.

In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 25th October, the Prime Minister announced that the capping of social rents at the LHA rate will be scrapped:

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy

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