Total: £0.00

picture of telephone  click icon for access to housing law in practice reference manual for membersMailing ListTwitterFacebook  YouTube

When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Increase in number of waiting days for JSA and ESA claims

From 27th October, a person will have to wait 7 days from a period of sickness or unemployment before he or she can make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

New legislation increases number of waiting days for benefit claims

The Social Security (Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance) (Waiting Days) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014(SR.No.235/2014) increase the number of waiting days from 3 to 7.  Some applicants are and will continue to be exempt from waiting days.  These include

  • claimants in exceptional financial hardship
  • claimants who are under 18
  • claimants who have been in receipt of benefits within the previous 12 weeks
  • claimants who are terminally ill.

This measure was originally announced in the Spending Review 2013.  It will apply to both income related and contribution based claims for these particular benefits.  The Social Development Committee made the Statutory Rule at its meeting on 4th September 2014.   

Scrutiny at Westminster

The Social Security Advisory Committee considered the corresponding GB legislation in September 2014 and made a number of recommendations, including that:

  • a robust cost benefits analysis be carried out before the changes were implemented
  • the current set of exemptions be extended, including exempting ESA claimants from the change
  • the existing process for highlighting  Short Term Benefits Advances be strengthened
  • the Government adopt a clear communication strategy around this change to ensure there are no misunderstandings about this policy and that claimants are not at risk of further hardship.

You can read the Government response to these recommendations at Gov.uk.

Tagged In

Benefits, Money Matters, Affordability

This article was written on 1 October 2014. 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.