Income, Benefits & Money

Income, Benefits & MoneyAvoiding scams

Scams can be sent to you through the post, by email or over the phone. They all have one thing in common – to make money by taking your money. Be aware, scams often share similar features that may alert you to the fact that they are not genuine.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, report it to the police immediately.

For further advice, contact your local PSNI Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 600 8000.


Attendance allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care because they have a physical or mental disability.

You may get Attendance Allowance if:

  • you have a physical or mental disability, or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself
  • you are aged 65 or over when you claim.

Attendance Allowance is not usually affected by any savings or income you may have. If you are under age 65, you may be able to get Disability Living Allowance.

For more information about how to apply, contact your local Social Security office or visit the nidirect website.


Budgeting Loan

You may be able to get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner have been claiming or getting payment for one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • State Pension Credit

and you need help to pay for any of the following:

  • furniture or household equipment
  • clothing or footwear
  • advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
  • travelling expenses within the United Kingdom
  • things to help you look for or start work
  • improving, maintaining or securing your home
  • repaying hire purchase or other debts you took out to pay for any of the above.

For more information or to make an application, contact your local Social Security office or visit the nidirect website.


Carers Allowance

You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and you spend at least 35 hours each week caring for someone who is ill or has a disability.

To make a claim, call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 22 06 74 and ask them to send you a claim pack or visit the nidirect website.


Cold weather and winter fuel payments

From 1 November to 31 March the Department of Social Development can announce cold weather payments. These are made to help meet heating costs during periods of very cold weather. The payment is paid automatically by the Social Security Agency to qualifying groups.Seniors can also apply for a winter fuel payment from the Social Security Agency. These are available to people receiving a state pension or certain benefits, as well as those in employment, if they are eligible.

Click here for more information.


Community Care grant

If you need financial help to live independently in the community or to ease exceptional pressure on you and your family you may be able to get a Community Care grant. You don’t have to pay it back.

For more information about Community Care grants and how to make an application, visit the nidirect website.


Crisis Loan

A Crisis Loan is an interest-free loan which can provide help in an emergency or disaster.

To make a claim, contact your local Social Security office or call the Crisis Loan claim line freephone number on 0800 028 8822. A Social Fund officer will process your claim over the telephone or visit the nidirect website for more information.


Disabled Facilities Grant

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.

To make an application, contact your local Health and Social Services Trust, who will answer your questions, start the process and contact the Housing Executive. You can also speak to your GP or social worker.  For more information visit the nidirect website.


Disabled Persons Allowance scheme

If you own your own home and you are, or someone else in your household is, a person with a disability, you may be entitled to a reduction of 25 per cent in your domestic rate bill, through the Disabled Persons Allowance scheme, which is administered by Land and Property Services (LPS).

In order to qualify for this your property must have been adapted to meet the needs of a person with a disability who lives in your home.

To apply, the person who pays rates on the property must submit an application form which is available from Land and Property Services. Call 101 or 028 9151 3101 to request a form.  For more information visit the nidirect website.


Funeral Payments

If you’re on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging, you may be able to get a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. You might have to repay some or all of it from the estate of the person who died.

You may be able to get a Funeral Payment but it depends on the benefits you’re getting, your relationship with the person who died and any other money (other than your personal savings) that may be available to help with the cost of the funeral.

For more information or to make an application, contact your local Social Security office on 028 3752 9777 or visit the nidirect website.


Housing Benefit and rates relief

People on low incomes, including pensioners, may be able to get help with their rent and rates through the Housing Benefit scheme.

You should apply if:

  • you have capital or savings of less than £16,000 and are on low income or wage
  • you are claiming benefits such as Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) or Pension Credit

Land and Property Services administers the scheme for people who own and occupy their own home and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) administers the scheme for those who rent their home.

For more information about the Housing Benefit scheme and how to make an application, visit the nidirect website.


Lone Pensioner Allowance

If you’re over 70 and live alone you may be eligible for the lone pensioner allowance, which gives eligible pensioners a 20% discount on their rates.

This scheme applies to people who are over 70 and live alone and pay rates for their home. It isn’t means tested so it doesn’t depend on income or savings.

If someone else lives with you, you may still be entitled to the allowance, subject to certain conditions, for example, if they are providing care to you and are not a disqualified relative.

If you are an owner occupier and want to find out more, phone Land and Property Services on 101 or 028 9151 3101.

If you rent your home, contact the Housing Executive on 0844 892 0902 or visit nidirect website.


Pension

You are eligible for state retirement pension once you reach state pension age. It is based on national insurance contributions either made by yourself or your partner.

For more information about pensions, contact the Pensions Service on 0845 601 8821 or visit the nidirect website.


Pension credit

If you’ve reached the minimum qualifying age you may be entitled to Pension Credit – extra money each week.

You may be entitled to Guaranteed Credit if:
• you’re single and your weekly income is below £137.35
• you have a partner and your joint weekly income is below £209.70

If you or your partner are aged 65 or over you could be entitled to the Savings Credit element if either of the following applies to you:
• you’re single and your total weekly income from money you have coming in (such as pensions, savings, earnings and investments) is between £98.40 and £183.90 each week
• you have a partner and your joint weekly income from money you and your partner have coming in (such as pensions, savings, earnings and investments) is between £157.25 and £270.13 each week

For more details, call the Pension Credit enquiry line on 0808 100 6165 or textphone 0808 100 1165 open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday or visit nidirect.


Social Security Offices

You can get a wide range of advice and information on benefits and what you might be entitled to at your local Social Security office. They can also carry out a home assessment on request if you’re unable to attend one of their offices due to disability or illness.

Contact Armagh Social Security office on 028 3752 9777 or visit nidirect for more information.


TV licensing

If you are aged 75 or over you are entitled to a free TV licence. The free licence won’t be issued automatically, you still need to apply for it.

The TV licence reminder includes details of how to apply along with an application form for the free over 75 license. If you are 74 you can apply for a special short term license that lasts until you are 75.

For more information, call the TV Licensing helpline on 0300 790 6073 or visit nidirect.