Working for change

The independent advice network is working to give a voice to people in Northern Ireland who are adversely affected by social policies such as social security, housing and income adequacy.

Campaign: 

Food Poverty

Street scene

Benefits withdrawals and Food Banks

Advisers often have to refer clients to food banks because their benefits have stopped due to administrative problems

Why this matters

Food banks fulfil a vital role as they help to support people who find themselves or their families without food. Over the last few years particularly as a result of the economic downturn there has been a rapid growth of food banks providing emergency help and assistance to people across Northern Ireland. In order to help understand the rise in reliance of people on emergency food Advice NI has carried out research.

Campaign: 

Welfare Reform

Food Bank Network

​Food Banks Referrals

Advisers often have to refer clients to food banks because their benefits have stopped due to administrative problems

Check out the facts on Welfare Reform

The Myth

UK out-of-work benefits are too generous and accommodate lavish lifestyles.

The Facts


At present rates for JSA and Income Support are:

£57.90pw for single claimant under 25
£73.10pw for a single claimant over 25
£114.85pw for a couple

A part-time job of 16 hours per week on the current national living wage of £7.20ph = £115.20pw

As of April 2015 the median weekly wage for Northern Ireland was £383pw (source NISRA) – Basic amounts for out of work benefits such as Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance as percentages of this:

Under 25: 15.12% Over 25: 19.09% Couple: 29.99%

The basic amount a couple without dependents claiming JSA is less than a third of the NI median weekly wage for a single adult worker.
The average Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for a single, working age adult was found to be £164.41 (this excludes housing costs). Research conducted in 2009 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines MIS as the income people need in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.
 

Why this matters

The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Act was given Royal Assent on 25th November 2015. This provides for significant changes to the benefits system.

About Advice NI

The Independent Advice Network is here to help you improve the quality of your life. We offer information, advice, advocacy and representation on: