Benefits Information for Advisors

Changes to the welfare system are currently being introduced in Northern Ireland. We've provided information to help ensure advisors have up to date information.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new payment for working-age people who are on low income or out of work. To get Universal Credit you must be aged 18 or over and be under State Pension age. Universal Credit will replace:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit (Rental)

More information on Universal Credit

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16 to 64 years.

Information for the public can be found on nidirect.

Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap is an upper limit to the amount of benefits households can receive. It makes sure that households on out-of-work benefits do not receive more than the average take home pay for working households. For the Benefit Cap to apply, someone in the household must be in receipt of Housing Benefit.

A household means the claimant, their partner (if they have one) and any children they are responsible for and who live with them.

Bereavement Support Payment

Bereavement Support Payment will be introduced on 6th April 2017 to help people deal with the more immediate costs associated with the death of a spouse or civil partner.

Bereavement Support Payment will replace the three existing bereavement benefits (Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance) and will be paid to new claimants where the date of death is on or after 6th April 2017.

People already receiving existing bereavement benefits will continue to do so and will not be affected by the introduction of Bereavement Support Payment.

ESA Time-Limiting

Welfare Changes will limit the amount of time that contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(C)) can be paid to some claimants to 365 days. Claimants in the Support Group are not affected and any time spent in the Support Group, or the Assessment Phase before moving to the Support Group, will not count towards a claimant’s 365 day time-limit. This change will be introduced from 31 October 2016 with the first claimants impacted from 28 November.

The special conditions that allowed some young people to get contribution-based ESA without having paid any National Insurance contributions have also been removed. These were removed from 17 February 2016. Any such claim for Employment and Support Allowance is now treated in the same way it is for anyone else.

Carer’s Allowance Digital Service

The Carer’s Allowance Digital Service (CADS) allows carers to make a claim or report a change in their circumstances online. 

The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, from a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone and can be accessed using the nidirect website.

Income Support

Income Support is extra money to help people on a low income. It’s for people who don't have to sign on as unemployed. Whether you qualify or not and how much you get depends on your circumstances.

Guidance for approved third parties in Northern Ireland

For more information on Income Support

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