Welfare Changes

The UK Government has introduced the biggest changes to the welfare and benefits system in over 60 years. These changes will directly impact on people on low income and those who are in receipt of welfare benefits, including anyone claiming Housing Benefit.

For further information follow the link here>>

Should you require advice or assistance with your claim for Universal Credit Housing Rights offers an independent advice service.

To find out more information please visit https://www.housingadviceni.org

Welfare reform has seen the introduction of Universal Credit which is a new single benefit payment for working-age people between 18 and 64 years who may be on a low income or out of work. It replaced six existing benefit and tax credits and includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as financial support for disabled people, carers and people who are too ill to work. Universal Credit was rolled out across Northern Ireland beginning in Limavady from 27th September 2017.

Date Universal Credit will Start  Jobs & Benefits/Social Security Office
 27 September 2017  Limavady
 15 November 2017  Ballymoney
 13 December 2017  Magherafelt & Coleraine
 17 January 2018  Strabane & Lisnagelvin
 7 February 2018  Foyle & Armagh
 21 February 2018  Omagh & Enniskillen
 7 March 2018  Dungannon & Portadown
 16 May 2018  Newry & Downpatrick
 30 May 2018  Lurgan, Newcastle & Kilkeel
 13 June 2018  Falls & Shankill
 27 June 2018  Andersonstown & Banbridge
 5 September 2018  Holywood Road & Ballynahinch
 19 September 2018  Newtownabbey & Newtownards
 3 October 2018  Shaftesbury Square & Carrickfergus
 17 October 2018  Knockbreda & Bangor
 31 October 2018  Lisburn & Larne
 14 November 2018  North Belfast & Cookstown
 5 December 2018  Ballymena & Antrim


Universal Credit will take up to six weeks after a UC claim has been made for the first payment to reach the claimant’s account. Payments are made to the claimant twice monthly by default with the option of monthly payments on request. Under exceptional circumstances if the claimant has specific issues such as alcohol or drug dependency, a more frequent payment can be arranged. The housing element will be paid directly to Radius Housing every 28 days. Help with rates will no longer be available under Universal Credit and this will have to be applied for separately via Land and Property Services. This will be called Rates Rebate.

Universal Credit is a digital service. This means that the benefit application and all subsequent communications relating to the claim will be carried out online. Claimants will not receive letters or emails about their claim they will have a responsibility to regularly log into their online Universal Credit account to access any communications about their claim.

Click here to download a PDF from the Citizens Advice Bureau>>


Universal Credit

Personal Independence Payments

Benefit Cap

Social Sector Size Criteria

A very helpful step – by – step guidance to the online application process can be found by watching the video below.