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: 

Kevin Higgins talks Welfare Reform mitigations on Sunday Politics

Why this matters

Our Head of Policy, Kevin Higgins, spoke with Mark Carruthers on Sunday Politics Northern Ireland about the March 2020 mitigations cliff edge.

Campaign: 

Welfare Reform Mitigations

Why this matters

We’re heading towards a Welfare Reform Mitigations cliffedge and thousands of vulnerable people across Northern Ireland may be facing a substantial drop in income. Read the latest mitigations discussion paper by Professor Eileen Evason and our head of Policy, Kevin Higgins.

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Universal Credit and Redundancy Payments

Why this matters

Fears are growing about a huge job loss spike in NI as the Government ‘furlough’ scheme winds down. Read the latest briefing paper from our policy team - Universal Credit and Redundancy Payments.

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Benefit Freeze

Why this matters

The [Work & Pensions] Committee has compiled evidence that shows that ending the benefits freeze a year early, [in 2019], would lift 200,000 people out of poverty.

Read the latest briefing paper on the benefit freeze from our policy team.

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Finance Support

Why this matters

Finance Support is the unit responsible for managing the new social welfare financial support funds. Read the latest briefing paper from our policy team that covers the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

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Universal Basic Income

Why this matters

Universal Basic Income is an automatic income for every U.K. citizen. It would provide a minimum amount for every citizen, regardless of means. It aims to provide stability and security for all; reduce the need for means-tested benefits, and mitigate income shocks when a change of circumstance result in a crisis situation.

This paper explores what a UBI is, what it could achieve, and how the concept could be explored for a pilot in Northern Ireland.

Campaign: 

Food Poverty

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.

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COVID-19 Support

Why this matters

Listen to our Head of Policy, Kevin Higgins, who spoke to Linda McAuley on On Your Behalf about how vulnerable people can get support during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Welfare Reform

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: