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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Delays in supplementary payments causing concerns

Housing Rights is concerned about delays in the payment of welfare supplementary payments to people affected by the bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax is a UK-wide policy that penalises social tenants who live in a house that is seen to be too big for their needs.  Tenants who have one or ore extra bedrooms will not receive enough housing benefits to cover their full rent. The effects of the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland are largely mitigated by supplementary payments, but our clients are reporting problems accessing this vital help. 

Extra payments to help people affected by bedroom tax in Northern Ireland

Any person affected by the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland should receive a supplementary payment, unless

  • they have moved from one social tenancy to another and continue to have more bedrooms than they need, and
  • they did not have management transfer status, (a type of priority transfer status), when they moved home.

Tenants report that payments are not being made

We have been contacted by a number of people who say they are not getting a supplementary payment, even though they are entitled to this extra help.  It appears that there is a procedural delay between a person applying for Universal Credit and the referral to welfare supplementary team being made or acted upon.  This has created confusion for many tenants, who were under the impression that the bedroom tax “doesn’t apply” in Northern Ireland.

We’d urge anyone affected by this issue to get in touch with our helpline as soon as possible. Make a note on your Universal Credit journal to ask your work coach if the referral to supplementary payments has been made and speak to your landlord about the issue. When the supplementary payment begins, it should be backdated to the date you started to receive Universal Credit to help with your rent.

Tagged In

Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform

This article was written on 2 March 2021. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.