Legacy Benefits

Due to the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) it is no longer possible to submit a new claim for any of these benefits. However, many claimants will remain on these benefits until they reach a natural migration point or the Department for Communities (DfC) commences the managed migration programme.

See our Universal Credit page for more information about the move to UC.

Employment & Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a means-tested income-replacement benefit for those unable to work because of illness or disability. Old-style ESA could be claimed either as a contribution-based or income-related benefit, or both. Claims are subject to a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and claimants may be required to undertake work-related activity.

More information about ESA, relevant forms and contact information can be accessed at nidirect:

Housing Benefit and Rate Relief

Renters or home owners on a low income might still be entitled to Housing Benefit, Rate Relief or both to help pay housing costs. Awards are managed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

See our separate page on support with Housing Costs for more information.

Income Support

Income Support (IS) is a low income benefit for people in certain groups who cannot sign on as unemployed, such as those with caring responsibilities or disabilities. Changes to the benefit system have already significantly reduced the number of people eligible for IS.

More information about IS can be accessed at nidirect:

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) was the main unemployment benefit prior to the introduction of Universal Credit. Like ESA, it could be claimed as both a contribution and income-based benefit. To continue to receive JSA jobseekers have to be working less than 16 hours per week and both available for and actively seeking employment.

More information about JSA can be accessed at nidirect:

Tax Credits

Awards of Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit are managed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

See our separate Tax Credits page for more information.