There have been lots of changes to benefits over the past number of years and more changes are coming. These changes could affect how you pay for your home, so it's important to understand how you will be affected.
Housing Benefit will be replaced by a new benefit in the coming years. This is called universal credit. The way that your housing costs is 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.
For years, people who needed extra financial support to cope with a disability received Disability Living Allowance. This allowance is now being replaced by a new payment, the Personal Independence Payment.
If you are over 18 and under pension age, you will be assessed for PIP if you need extra financial help because of a disability. Children will still be able to claim DLA.
Universal credit was introduced to Northern Ireland in September 2017. By December 2018, any working age person making a new claim for social security assistance will claim universal credit instead of some of the current benefits, including Housing Benefit.
The government will start moving existing claimants of certain other benefits on to Universal Credit from 2019 and plans to finish this process by 2022.
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 own your own home and receive certain benefits, you can apply for Support for Mortgage Interest. This is a payment made to help homeowners with the cost of the mortgage on their mortgage and on certain loans.