Why Advice Matters - Discussion Paper

The NIASC is committed to representing the views of advisers and clients on issues of fundamental importance and there can be little doubt that proposals contained within the Welfare Reform Bill will have far-reaching repercussions.

Advice critical to help people cope with welfare changes say leading advice agencies

A report launched on 2 July 2013 at Stormont by the Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium (Advice NI, Citizens Advice and Law Centre (NI)) highlights the likely impact of welfare reform on people across Northern Ireland and how advice providers will be called upon to help those struggling to cope with the changes.

Launching the report, Bob Stronge, Chief Executive, Advice NI, speaking on behalf of the Consortium commented:
"The proposals contained within the Welfare Reform Bill will have far-reaching repercussions and the report highlights a clear consensus that many people will turn to independent advice services for help to cope with the changes. Advisers can help people understand what is happening; try to resolve problems at an early stage; and ultimately help people to dispute decisions where appropriate. However we need to act now to ensure that independent advice services are fully supported to meet the additional demand that will be created by welfare reform."

The report, 'Why Advice Matters' highlights some stark facts including:

• The reform of Disability Living Allowance between 2013 and 2015 could mean that over half of claimants could see their benefit reduced or completely removed;
• The introduction of Universal Credit will impact on 287,000 households across Northern Ireland;
• The demand for independent advice has grown steadily with over 2 million enquiries dealt with over the past 4 years;
• Representation by advisers can double the chances of success at benefit tribunals.

Download the report here: Why Advice Matters