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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

If you don't already get Housing Benefit, you can only make a new claim for it if you get a Severe Disability Premium as part of your other benefits or if you are over pension age. You also need to have a responsibility to pay rent or rates. If you can't apply for Housing Benefit, you may be able to get help to pay your rent by applying for Universal Credit.  

You may be able to challenge or appeal a housing benefit decision if you think it is wrong or unfair. This can be a complicated process so it's best to get help from an advice agency.

Private tenants can apply for extra housing benefit if the amount they are getting doesn't cover their rent. This is known as a discretionary housing payment. The Housing Executive decides whether you are entitled to extra benefit and how much you should get.

Housing Benefit is being replaced by a new benefit - universal credit. The way your housing costs are worked out will be quite different under the universal credit system, particularly if you are a homeowner.

The government has also announced further plans to change the way that help with housing costs is given to people on low incomes. 

You could lose your home if you don’t pay your rent. Your landlord, whether it’s the Housing Executive or a housing association will have to follow the proper procedure before this happens. Part of this procedure is to work with you to try to sort out the problem.

Every tenant has a right to apply for housing benefit. However, most students at university or college are not entitled to it, unless they fall into certain categories.

The biggest change to Housing Benefit is the introduction of the bedroom tax. But there are other important changes too, which could mean you receive less help with your rent. This will be particularly relevant if you've moved from DLA to PIP or if you have a large family. 

If you had safe and secure accommodation before going into custody you should try to keep it, if possible, while you’re in prison.

When working out your Housing Benefit, the Housing Executive gives you premiums and allowances for everyone living in your home. These allowances and premiums are changing under welfare reform and this may mean that some people receive less Housing Benefit.

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