Welfare Cuts: How are they affecting you?

Advice NI is conducting some research on the everyday experiences and challenges faced by people affected by the welfare cuts. We are primarily interested in the following welfare cuts: -

1. Support for Mortgage Interest: shortfall created by the reduction in SMI to the Average Mortgage Rate in October 2010

2. Support for Mortgage Interest: withdrawal of SMI for claimants on IB-JSA for 2 years after 4th January 2009 (impacting from January 2011)

3. Incapacity Benefit re-assessment: IB claimants who fail the Work Capability Assessment during their re-assessment (commencing February 2011)

4. Sure Start Maternity Grant: payment for a second or subsequent child abolished (from 23rd March 2011)

5. Benefit uprating from April 2011: A seemingly technical change to the way benefit increases are worked out will short-change hundreds of thousands of people on benefits over the coming years. Benefits (excluding State Pension and Pension Credit) will be up-rated based on the Consumer Price index rather than the more generous Retail Price Index.

6. Child benefit freeze (from April 2011)

7. Childcare support within tax credits: reduced from 80% to 70% (from April 2011)

8. Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit): the setting of LHA at the 30th percentile, meaning that only about 3 in 10 private rented properties will be at or below the LHA rate (April 2011). The changes mean that private tenants will receive less help with rent payments through Housing Benefit after 1st April, meaning there will be a bigger shortfall between Housing Benefit and the amount owed to the landlord.

We would be grateful if you would participate in this research if you are affected by one or more of the cuts highlighted above.

Data gathering for this research will run for a defined period (June – September 2011). All of the information we collect will be kept in the strictest confidence and used for research purposes only.

A report will be produced with the aim of raising awareness of the impact of the welfare cuts on people in Northern Ireland.

It will not be possible to identify any particular individual in the results.

If you are willing to take part in this research please complete the following questionnaire.