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If your Income Support has stopped

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

Your Income Support has stopped

Your Income Support might have stopped because:

  • you didn’t report a change in circumstances - for example, your partner moved in with you
  • the Department for Communities (DfC) thinks you’re earning more than you told them
  • you didn’t reply when the DfC wrote to check certain details of your claim
  • the DfC thinks you're no longer caring for someone

The DfC should have written to tell you that your Income Support is being stopped - and the date it will end. The letter will say something like ‘you’re no longer entitled to Income Support’ and should tell you why.

If you can’t find the letter, you can call the DfC to find out why your Income Support has stopped.

DfC - Income Support
Telephone: 0800 022 4250 

Make a note of the date and time you call. Also write down the name of the person you spoke to. You might need these details when you ask for your Income Support to start again. 

Your Income Support has been reduced

Your Income Support might have been reduced because you’ve been sanctioned.

If you’re getting Income Support because you’re a lone parent and your youngest child is over 1 year old, you’ll have to go to a “work-focused interview” with a work coach in your local Jobs and Benefits Office. If  your youngest child is 3 or 4 years old, your work coach will ask you to do “work-related activities” to help you get into work once your youngest child is 5.

DfC can sanction you if:

  • you don’t go to a work-focused interview
  • you go, but don’t take part in your interview
  • you don’t take part in a compulsory work-related activity that you’ve been asked to do

If you’re sanctioned you’ll get less Income Support until you do what your work coach has asked you to do.

Challenging the DfC’s decision to stop or reduce your Income Support

If you disagree with the DfC’s reasons for stopping or reducing your Income Support, you can ask them to change the decision. For example, if they stopped your Income Support because they think you live with your partner when you don’t.

To do this, you’ll need to ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. See challenging an Income Support decision for how to ask for one.

If the DfC’s decision to stop your Income Support was correct but your circumstances have changed and you’re entitled again, you’ll need to make a new claim. If you live in a Universal Credit area, you'll have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Claiming other benefits

As well as Income Support, you might be able to get one or more of these benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • tax credits
  • Rate Relief

Use the Turn2Us benefits calculator to see if you should apply for any other benefits.

If you already get Housing Benefit and are challenging the decision to stop your Income Support, tell your local authority. Telling them why the DfC decision is wrong should help prevent your Housing Benefit from stopping too.

If you don’t have enough to live on while your benefits are sorted, you can get emergency help with things like heating or items you need for your house - for example a bed or cooker.

See help for people on a low income for how to apply.

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