The benefits system is changing across the UK. But in Northern Ireland, it is unclear when any changes will take effect.
The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill is expected to create a number of changes to the benefits system in Northern Ireland. However, the Bill still needs to pass through a number of key stages before it can become law.
Summer 2015 update
The following changes are expected to happen, but it is unclear when they will take effect:
- A benefit cap will be introduced, limiting the total amount of benefits that individuals can claim.
- The new benefit Personal Independence Payment will be introduced, gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance.
- Changes will be introduced to Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit.
- The Social Fund system will be replaced by a new system called Discretionary Support.
- The process for appealing a benefit decision will change.
- It’s also expected that Universal Credit will be introduced to Northern Ireland.
- Some of these changes will be similar to reforms that are already underway in England, Scotland and Wales.
The details above are based on information from the Social Security Agency, which is responsible for state benefits in Northern Ireland. But all of these plans may change. We aim to keep this page updated with the latest news about welfare reform in Northern Ireland, and you can also check nidirect.gov.uk for the latest news.
Further information and support
Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with Citizens Advice, provides a dedicated Welfare Rights Service to people affected by cancer in Northern Ireland. For information and support, or to arrange an appointment, please call 0300 1 233 233. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm.
You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
For benefits information and support in Northern Ireland please visit nidirect.gov.uk or call 0800 232 1271.
You can also contact the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674, or textphone 028 9031 1092 if you are deaf or hard of hearing.