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What support is available

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get if you're working age.

If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will go down. The Northern Ireland Executive is making financial support available to households with children who are affected.

What support is available

If the Benefit Cap applies to you and you are responsible for a child or young person who lives with you, you may be eligible for a Welfare Supplementary Payment (WSP) until March 2020 to make up for your cut in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

You can get WSPs until 31 March 2020.

You don't need to apply for a WSP. The Department for Communities will identify if you are eligible and will make payments to cover any loss of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

How the payments are made

Welfare Supplementary Payments are made every four weeks in arrears.

If your Housing Benefit is normally paid directly to your landlord, the WSP is paid to them. If your Housing Benefit is normally paid to you, you get the WSP.Your landlord or the letting agent has to be on the Landlord Register to get the WSP. Otherwise it goes to the person claiming Housing Benefit.

If you are getting Universal Credit, the WSP will be made directly to you, not to your landlord. Even if your Universal Credit payment is capped, your landlord will still get the full amount due, but the amount you get for living on will be reduced. The WSP will make up this loss.

You can contact the WSP team on 0800 587 0971.

If your circumstances change

If the Benefit Cap didn't apply to, but your circumstances have changed so that it does now, you may be eligible for a WSP as long as you have been receiving one of the benefits included in the Benefit Cap calculation since 31 May 2016. You can see the list of benefits which count towards the Cap on nidirect.

If you are already getting a WSP and your circumstances change so that the amount that is being deducted from your Housing Benefit decreases, your WSP will decrease.

If you are getting a WSP and your circumstances change so that the amount that is being deducted from your Housing Benefit increases, your WSP won't increase. The maximum amount of your WSP is set by what you were first entitled to, except where the Benefit Cap itself is lowered. If your Housing Benefit is reduced but your WSP isn't increased, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

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