UPDATED Benefits Advice

Last night Ministers for the Communities Deirdre Hargey introduced new measures for those applying for benefits. Below is latest information. However you should get advice before applying. Contact Aine Malone on 07739876126 or email [email protected]

Covid-19 – Benefit Appointments, Assessments and Appeals

Attending appointments/assessments

All appointments at local Jobs & Benefits offices have been postponed from 16 March. If you are due to sign-on for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC), you will be excused from signing. For those already receiving benefits, you will continue to receive your payments and rather than attend the office for routine appointments for UC , Work Coaches will communicate with you via your on-line journal, the phone, or will simply re-schedule appointments for a later date. Nobody will be penalised for not attending the office.

Face-to-face assessments for all benefits will be suspended for a period of 3 months from 16 March. Assessments for benefits will be carried out by telephone, or by considering medical evidence submitted by post. If you already have an appointment for assessment scheduled, you will be contacted to cancel your appointment.

Personal Independence Payment

Face to face assessments will be suspended for a period of 3 months from 16 March. If you are waiting on an appointment for your face-to-face assessment, all future medical assessments will be carried out by telephone or by considering medical evidence submitted by post. If you have additional medical evidence which could be beneficial to your claim, please submit this at your earliest convenience. You can send this to:

PIP MOU, PO Box 42, Limavady, BT49 4AN

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC)

All appointments at local Jobs & Benefits offices have been postponed. If you have an assessment appointment scheduled, you will be contacted by the Department to cancel this appointment. Assessments for all benefits will be carried out by telephone, or by considering medical evidence submitted by post. If you are waiting on an assessment and you have additional medical evidence which could be beneficial to your claim, please submit this at your earliest convenience. You can send this to:

Belfast MSC, 1st Floor, 29-31 Alfred Street, Metropolitan Building, Belfast BT2 8ED

 

Benefit Appeals

Due to the current situation with COVID 19 all tribunal sessions arranged by the Appeals Service have been suspended from and including Thursday 19th March until further notice. This includes all Oral and Written hearings.

Financial Support

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced yesterday enhancements to the Discretionary Support scheme to further support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency measures will be introduced from today (25th March 2020) and include the introduction of a grant payment to assist with short-term living expenses where a person, or a member of their immediate family, has been infected by COVID-19 or told to self-isolate. There is no limit on the amount of an individual award, which will be calculated based on individual circumstances.

In addition, the Department for Communities is working to introduce a new online claim form to deal more quickly with claims for Discretionary Support living expenses. As soon as this is available, there will be a further announcement and people will have the option to apply through NI Direct.