Benefits

Universal Credit has been rolled out as the main means tested benefit for adults of working age.

To be entitled to Universal Credit, you must be aged 18 or over and be under State Pension age.

Universal Credit has replaced:

  • Income support;
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance;
  • Income related employment and support allowance;
  • Housing benefit;
  • Child tax credit; and
  • Working tax credit.

Universal Credit includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as financial support for disabled people, carers and people who are too ill to work.

Who to ask about your benefits

Your nearest Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office will help you with any questions relating to your specific needs. You can search for your nearest office at:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/jobs-benefits-offices-jobcentres-and-social-security-offices

What to do if things go wrong

Social Security Claims

If a decision has been made on your social security claim and you wish to dispute the outcome, you must ask the office that made the decision to formally reconsider its decision before you are able to make an appeal. This is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.

Following a Mandatory Reconsideration, if you wish to appeal the decision, you must send your appeal directly to The Appeals Service (TAS) rather than the Social Security Office or Jobs & Benefits office that made the decision. This process is referred to as Direct Lodgement.

You have one month:

  • After getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, or reconsidered.
  • After getting a reconsidered decision to appeal.

Decisions made by HMRC

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are responsible for decisions about Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Guardians’ Allowance. If you wish to dispute a decision made by HMRC, you can only appeal after you have asked HMRC to reconsider their decision.

This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration. You will receive a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice in the post which confirms that HMRC have looked at your decision again. If you remain unhappy with the outcome you can appeal by completing the appeal form NOA1 (HMRC). You must send this form, along with the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice, to The Appeals Service (TAS)

For more information on the Appeals process, you can access NI Direct at:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/appealing-against-a-benefits-decision