The Bedroom Tax was introduced in other parts of the UK in April 2013. It has not been introduced in Northern Ireland yet.
MLAs at the Assembly are still debating the Welfare Reform Bill. Until the Assembly passes this bill and it becomes an Act the Housing Executive can't cut your housing benefit because you have more rooms than you need.
Pensioners and partners of pensioners will not be affected by this change. When Universal Credit replaces the current benefits system this change may affect couples where only one partner is of pensionable age.
When will the changes happen?
The Department for Social Development has given the following dates as deadlines for Welfare Reform
- Changes to housing benefit (Bedroom Tax): Spring 2014
- Introduction of Personal Independence Payments: Spring 2014
- Changes to Employment & Support Allowance: Spring 2014
- Reform of the Social Fund: Spring 2014
- Benefit Cap: Spring 2014
- Universal Credit: Summer 2014
MLAs at the Assembly will have to pass the bill before any of these changes become law so these dates may change.
How will the changes affect me?
We can't say for definite how you will be affected by Welfare Reform. It all depends on what happens at the Assembly. It's pretty likely that the system in Northern Ireland will be similar to the bedroom tax in Great Britain.