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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit

Almost everyone who lives in a property in Northern Ireland has to pay rates. Rates pay for services throughout Northern Ireland; like schools, hospitals and roads; and for services in your local area; like bin collection, parks and leisure centres. The amount you pay depends on the value of your property and which council area it is in. You can get help to pay your rates if you're on a low income or receiving certain benefits.

Almost everyone who lives in a property in Northern Ireland has to pay rates. Rates pay for services throughout Northern Ireland; like schools, hospitals and roads; and for services in your local area; like bin collection, parks and leisure centres. The amount you pay depends on the value of your property and which council area it is in. You can get help to pay your rates if you're on a low income or receiving certain benefits.

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. Other people with responsibility for rent and rates can get help with these payments by applying for Universal Credit.  

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. 

Tenancy and floating support services can help you manage in your home. Many of these services are funded through the Housing Executive’s Supporting People programme.

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.

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. 

Housing benefit is a social security benefit which helps people on low income with their housing costs. It can cover rent, rates and some service charges. There are different systems for working out housing benefit for social tenants, who rent from the Housing Executive or housing associations, and for private tenants, who rent from a private landlord or agent. 

 

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