Welfare Mitigation Review

The Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey appointed an Independent Advisory Panel on 16 November 2021 to complete the Welfare Mitigation Review. The panel were asked to recommend mitigations to the social security benefit system in Northern Ireland.

The review

The work of a previous panel chaired by Eileen Evason led to mitigation payments for people affected by the social sector size criteria/bedroom tax and benefit cap for families alongside compensation for a fixed period for claimants who lost out for example, when transferring from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

The panel looked at the existing mitigations, what else could be done to recognise further changes to social security and wider considerations on how low income groups could be supported through the social security system, for example, since the last review Universal Credit has been introduced in Northern Ireland and the two-child policy which restricts entitlement for new claimants to Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit to two children only.

The panel completed that review and costed each of their recommendations. The Department for Communities is currently assessing the panel’s report. The funding for any future mitigation schemes needs to be approved by the Northern Ireland Executive as the money will come from the Northern Ireland budget.

The terms of reference and the details of the panel members are available.

The report

The Independent Advisory Panel were tasked with completing a comprehensive review of existing welfare mitigation measures and to identify the need for a future welfare mitigation package. The panel have presented their final report to the Department and it has now been published. The Department is currently considering the Panel’s report and its recommendations.

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