Northern Ireland welfare benefits

These are the benefits that are available for Northern Ireland.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit you may get if you're aged 65 or over and need help with personal care because you have a physical or mental disability.

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You may get Attendance Allowance if you are aged 65 or over and have needed help with personal care because of a physical or mental disability for six months.

Your disability must be severe enough for you to need either:

  • Help with things such as washing (and getting in or out of the bath or shower), dressing, eating, getting to and using the toilet, or communicating your needs
  • Supervision to avoid putting yourself or others in a lot of danger, for example, needing someone to keep an eye on your medical condition or diet someone with you when you are on dialysis

You can get Attendance Allowance even if no one is actually giving you the care you need and even if you live alone.

Blue Badge

The Blue Badge scheme provides on-street parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems. Benefits include free on-street parking in 'pay and display' bays.

The scheme operates throughout the UK, however information on here applies to Northern Ireland residents only.

  • You can get a Blue Badge if you:
  • Receive the higher rate of the mobility part of Disability Living Allowance
  • Receive a War Pension Mobility Supplement
  • Receive a benefit under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme within tariff levels one to eight (inclusive) and have been certified by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) as having a permanent and substantial impairment which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty walking
  • Are registered blind
  • Receive eight points or more under the 'moving around' activity for the mobility part of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Drive a vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty operating, all or some types of parking meter
  • Have a permanent and substantial disability which means you cannot walk or have very considerable difficulty walking - in this case your doctor may be asked to confirm your eligibility

Children under the age of three

If you have children under the age of three, who have a disability due to a medical condition and need to travel with bulky equipment or be close to a vehicle for emergency medical treatment, they may be eligible for a badge. More about the Blue Badge scheme

Direct Benefit for Carers

As a carer, you can use direct payments to buy services the Trust agrees you need to support you in your caring role. You can:

  • Buy services from an organisation
  • Employ someone to provide you with help

This includes practical help such as driving lessons or support that may help maintain your health and well-being, for example a holiday. If you are assessed as needing domestic help, you may ask for a direct payment and buy the support services you need.

If you already receive social services your Trust has to offer you direct payments in place of the services you currently receive. In some circumstances you cannot get direct payments. Your Trust can explain these circumstances. If you're not receiving social services, to get direct payments, you need to contact your Trust to ask them to assess your needs. Assessment for carers

Disability Living Allowance for Adults

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for people with disabilities who need help with mobility or care costs.

If you're already getting DLA and are aged between 16 and 64 years, you'll continue to get DLA until the Department for Communities (DfC) writes to tell you when your DLA will end and invites you to apply for PIP. You will only be eligible to make a fresh claim to DLA if you are under 16.

Disabled Facilities Grants

A Disabled Facilities Grant is provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to help to improve the home of a person with a disability, and may be based on the recommendation of an occupational therapist.

Owner occupiers, landlords or private tenants can get help to carry out adaptations, provided there is a person with a disability living in the house.

Disabled Person's Allowance

Where a property has been suitably adapted or has additional features to accommodate a disabled person's special needs, you might be entitled to 25 per cent discount in your rates with the Disabled Person's Allowance.

This allowance is not means tested. To apply, you don't need to provide information about your income and savings.

  • The allowance is 25 per cent discount in rates for any household where:
  • a person with a disability lives
  • the property has been adapted or has additional facilities added to suit the disabled person's needs
  • There must be a clear link between how the property has been adapted and the person's disability.

The property must be adapted to meet the needs of a person with a disability who lives in your home. Types of adaptations that qualify are:

  • a room, other than a kitchen, bathroom or toilet, which is wholly used by the person with a disability for treatment or therapy
  • an extra kitchen for the person with a disability
  • an extra toilet for the person with a disability (including an ensuite)
  • an extra bathroom (including extra toilets and an ensuite)
  • floor space to use a wheelchair easily

Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers support and financial help so you can do suitable work if you are able to. It gives you access to an Employment Service Adviser and services including employment, training and condition management support to help you manage your illness or disability at work.

  • You may be able to claim ESA if any of the following apply:
  • your Statutory Sick Pay has ended or you cannot get it
  • you are employed, self-employed, unemployed or a student on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • you have been getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and have not gone back to work for your employer because you have an illness or disability which affects your ability to work
  • you are under State Pension age
  • you are not getting Jobseeker's Allowance

You must also either:

  • have had an illness or disability which affects your ability to work
  • be unable to work for two or more days out of seven consecutive days
  • be getting special medical treatment
  • There are three types of ESA:
  • contribution-based
  • income-related
  • new style
  • Contribution-based ESA

You may be entitled to this if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions.

Income related ESA

You may be entitled to income-related ESA if you do not have enough money coming in or you have not paid enough National Insurance contributions, and you satisfy the entitlement conditions. This means that you have savings of less than £16,000 and if you have a partner or civil partner, they work for less than 24 hours a week on average.

New style ESA

You can apply for new style ESA if you're eligible to get Universal Credit.

New style ESA works in the same way as contribution-based ESA. Your partner's income and savings won't affect how much new style ESA you're paid. You can get new style ESA on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. If you get both at the same time, your new style ESA payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment – you aren't guaranteed to get any extra money.

If you have a terminal illness

If your doctor doesn't think you'll live for more than six months, there are special rules to make sure you get the most money you can. If this applies to you, please contact the ESA Centre.

If you've been living or working abroad

This can affect your ESA claim. You may be able to claim if you've either:

paid enough UK National Insurance Contributions in the past (and the equivalent in certain other countries)

worked abroad for an employer based in the UK and paid National Insurance contributions for the first 52 weeks of that employment.

Incapacity benefit

If you couldn't work because of illness or disability before 31 January 2011, you may be receiving Incapacity Benefit. People claiming after this date must apply for Employment and Support Allowance instead. Since 31 January 2011 you cannot make a new claim for Incapacity Benefit. You should claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.

Benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. Some individual benefits aren't affected but it may affect the total amount of benefit you get.

Pension income rule

If you have a gross pension income of more than £85 a week, the amount of benefit will be reduced by half of the excess.

The excess is the difference between £85 and the actual pension income. For example, for a pension income of £100, the excess is £15. The amount of Incapacity Benefit payable is reduced by half of that, which is £7.50.

Exceptions to pension income rule

This rule does not apply if:

  • you started receiving Incapacity Benefit before 6 April 2001
  • your claim is made under the 'linking rules' for Incapacity Benefit and links back to before 6 April 2001
  • you receive the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • Tax credits and other support

You may be able to get:

Child Tax Credit if you're responsible for at least one child

Working Tax Credit if you're working and on a low income

Job Centres and social security offices

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is Benefit is available to support people who are ill or disabled from an accident or disease caused by work or while they were on an approved employment training scheme or course. You may be eligible due to an accident or a disease.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged between 16 to 64 years. PIP and DLA cannot be claimed at the same time.

PIP helps towards some of the extra costs arising from having a long-term health condition or disability that is expected to last for 12 months or longer. Entitlement to PIP is based on the effect a long term health condition has on your daily life, not the condition itself.

DLA will stay for children up to the age of 16 years, both for existing or new claimants. Existing claimants who were aged 65 years or over on 20 June 2016 will continue to receive DLA provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.