Learn more about the support available to help with housing costs.
Discretionary Housing Payments can provide extra help with rent if Universal Credit or Housing Benefit awards do not fully cover the cost of your rent.
If you receive Housing Benefit, you might be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment if the rent charged by your landlord is more than the rent used by the Housing Executive to calculate your award or if you are responsible for a child, but a family premium is not included in your award.
If you receive Universal Credit, you might be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are a private tenant, you receive the housing costs element of Universal Credit and there is a difference between the rent charged by your landlord and the rent used to calculate your housing costs.
You might also be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the full cost of the shortfall between your award and your rent, if you have recently lost your job, been made temporarily redundant or your income has reduced. This is known as the 13 week protection rule, as a Discretionary Housing Payment is made for an initial period of 13 weeks before being reviewed.
In order to be eligible for this payment, you must not have received Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit in the last 12 months and you must have been able to afford your rent when you first entered into the tenancy agreement.
You can also get a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the full cost of the shortfall in your rent if you are moving from a hostel or temporary accommodation or if you are a young person leaving care.
Each application for a Discretionary Housing Payment is assessed on its own merits.
For more information on Discretionary Housing Payments and how to apply, visit:
If you are a homeowner and receive a means- tested benefit, you might be able to get help to pay the interest payments on your mortgage.
Help for owner/occupiers is now provided by way of a Support for Mortgage Interest Loan (SMI loan).
You might be eligible for a SMI loan if you receive Income Support, income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
There is a waiting period between receiving one of the above benefits and getting an SMI loan. The waiting period is currently nine months. A waiting period does not apply, however, to recipients of Pension Credit.
An SMI loan accrues interest and is secured by way of a charge on your home. That means that the loan will have to be repaid if you sell or transfer your home. However, if there is not enough money from the sale of your home to repay the loan in full, the rest of it will be written off.
For further information and how to apply, visit: