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Welfare Reform . Information Session. Today\'s Session. Rationale for Reform Welfare Reform Agenda Welfare Reform Bill Welfare Reform Regulations - Housing Benefit. Today\'s Session- cont’d . Wider Changes Timetable for Reform Mitigating actions.

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welfare reform

Welfare Reform

Information Session

today s session
Today\'s Session
  • Rationale for Reform
  • Welfare Reform Agenda
  • Welfare Reform Bill
  • Welfare Reform Regulations

- Housing Benefit

today s session cont d
Today\'s Session- cont’d
  • Wider Changes
  • Timetable for Reform
  • Mitigating actions
governments rationale for reform
Governments Rationale for Reform

Making Work Pay

  • Consider current system to have failed
  • Overly complicated
  • Too expensive
  • Does not encourage people into employment
  • Open to fraud
agenda for reform
Agenda for Reform
  • Simplified, Streamlined Welfare System
  • Reduce Bill for Welfare Benefits by 20%
  • Encourage and incentivise people to work
    • Ensure those not working , no better off than working households
    • Break the cycle of Welfare Dependency

Increased Sanctions attached to all elements of Welfare Reform

benefits being abolished
Benefits being abolished
  • Income support
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit
universal credit
Universal Credit
  • Introduced October 2013
  • One benefit payment to be paid in or out of work
  • Payment to one member in a household
  • New work related activity requirements
  • Stronger sanctions
  • Real time IT system
  • Payments may change to monthly in arrears
personal independence payment
Personal Independence Payment
  • Replaces disability living allowance
  • 2 components: mobility and daily living with 2 rates for each component
  • Assessment by way of medical examination
  • Initially only for working age claimants
  • Entitlement to PIP part of gateway for carers allowance
  • Plans to introduce a habitual residence test instead of ordinary residence test (DLA)
housing benefit 2011
Housing Benefit2011
  • LHA – capping, change to 30th percentile
  • Ending of excess payment award
  • Increase in rate of non-dependant deductions

These applied to new claims from April 2011. Changes were delayed for existing claimants for 9 months after the 1st anniversary date of their claim after April 2011. Change started from January 2012

  • Age range for Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) extended to 35
  • Capping of LHA for existing claimants
  • LHA at 30 percentile for existing claimants


  • Reduction in HB award for under-occupation in social rented sector
  • Overall cap on benefits received
  • Increase in LHA rate limited by rate of Consumer Price Index


  • Introduction of Universal Credit
2014 2017
  • Phased transfer of existing HB caseload to Universal Credit
supported housing hb reform
Supported Housing HB Reform
  • Grouping of different ‘types’ of supported housing with different payment rates : flat rate/geographical rate
  • Identifying types of additional activities and pricing these
  • Intensive housing management costs to be separated from HB and administered by local authorities under personalisation agenda
  • Housing benefit to be paid via Universal Credit
  • Tied to personalisation agenda
potential impacts
Potential Impacts
  • Increased competition & demand for housing
  • Remove/Limit housing choice
  • Prevent move on & impede progress
  • Financial impact on housing providers due to a number of changes: direct payments, communal areas, intensive housing management
  • Rent Shortfalls - Debt/ Arrears
  • Loss of Accommodation/Homelessness
other key elements
Other key elements
  • Income support for lone parents
  • Contributory ESA limited to one year
  • ESA in youth to be abolished
  • Benefit cap to be introduced – problematic for disabled people
  • Social Fund community care grants, budgeting loans and crisis loans abolished from 2013
  • Childcare gaps
  • Passport benefits
procedural issues
Procedural Issues
  • Changes to right of appeal
  • Overpayment recovery
  • Benefit penalties and fraud
  • Immigration status and entitlement
  • Access to welfare advice
ni welfare reform bill
NI Welfare Reform Bill
  • Due 2012. Welfare Reform Bill GB received Royal Assent 14.03.12
  • Possible Accelerated passage
  • Social Fund
  • Lack of a work programme
  • Childcare
  • Forecasted longer recession recovery
timetable cont d
Timetable cont’d

April 2013

  • DLA replaced by PIP
  • Mobility provisions for people in residential care to be reviewed
  • HB entitlement to reflect family size
  • LHA to be uprated in line with CPI
  • Benefit cap £500 p/w for couple/lone parent. £350 p/w for single people (does not apply to those on DLA, working tax credit & war pensions)

October 2013

  • UC introduced
  • Community care grants and crisis loans abolished
mitigating actions
Mitigating Actions
  • Support financial capability
  • Promote realistic housing options
  • Develop relationships with local employment services
  • Develop relationships with local PRS landlords
  • Lobby MLAs for changes to HA regs to allow better use of existing stock
  • Respond positively to the Housing Strategy for NI consultation when available