Information for advisers

Law Centre NI provides information to support advisers in their work...

The Social Security hub at Law Centre NI seeks to produce resources to support advisers in their day-to-day work on the advice sector frontline. Resources include our quarterly bulletin, adviser guides, and resource sheets.

Law Centre NI Social Security Law and Practice Bulletin

Our quarterly Social Security Law and Practice Bulletin provides advisers with summaries of recent Northern Irish case law, including Social Security Commissioner Decisions, and legislation. We also update advisers on the work of our Policy branch, highlight topical issues grabbing our Legal Officers’ attention and list upcoming Training and Events at Law Centre NI.

If you would like to receive future editions of the Bulletin straight to your inbox, please sign up here.

Appeals to the Social Security Commissioner

This adviser practice guide is for social security advisers who are assisting a client in their appeal from an appeal tribunal to the Social Security Commissioner. The guide is in two parts. Part 1 provides guidance on how to identify whether your client has grounds to appeal an appeal tribunal decision. Part 2 outlines your responsibilities as a representative at a social security hearing and the procedure that should be followed in appealing to the Social Security Commissioner

Download (PDF 222.74 KB)Download (PDF 291.128 KB)

Legal Briefing for Advisers: Bereavement Support Payment and Cohabitees

This Legal Information Briefing provides guidance on what action to take if a claimant is told they do not fulfil the eligibility conditions for a successful claim to Bereavement Support Payment.

Download (PDF 185.057 KB)

Update for Advisers - Changes to Social Security in Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Northern Ireland

This update for advisers provides guidance on changes to social security in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Northern Ireland.

Download (PDF 476.357 KB)

Social Security Commissioner's Decision [C009/20-21(ESA)]

Social Security Commissioner's decision in the case of SK-v-Department for Communities (ESA) [2020] NICom 73, relating to whether an overpayment of ESA was recoverable and whether the Department for Communities could rely on the judgment in Hinchy v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions[2005] UKHL 16.

Download (PDF 290.293 KB)

A Decade of Change: 2020 Conference Event Programme

Event programme for 'A Decade of Change: Law Centre NI Social Security Law and Practice Conference 2020', held on 21 - 23 October 2020.

Download (PDF 2.102 MB)

Cliff Edge Coalition Briefing Paper - September 2020

This Cliff Edge Coalition briefing paper sets out key priorities, including a call to pass legislation to extend the
existing mitigations and to ensure the legislation:

  • Closes the current loopholes in the Bedroom Tax and the Benefit Cap mitigations
  • Extends the mitigations indefinitely to avoid another ‘Cliff Edge’
  • Earmarks any underspend in the extended mitigations package for specific anti-poverty initiatives.
Download (PDF 78.323 KB)

Court of Appeal Judgment: Michael O'Donnell v Dept. for Communities [2020 NICA 36]

Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Michael O'Donnell v Dept. for Communities [2020 NICA 36].

Download (PDF 470.22 KB)

Letter to Minister on Terminal Illness Rules

On Wednesday 29 July, more than 25 organisations, including Law Centre NI, wrote to the Minister for Communities calling for urgent action to change the legal definition of a terminal illness and remove the six month criterion. The letter comes weeks after the High Court found that it discriminates against some terminally ill claimants.

Download (PDF 397.662 KB)

Decision in the Matter of an Application by Lorraine Cox for Leave to Apply for Judicial Review

A copy of the decision delivered by Mr Justice McAlinden on 07 July 2020.

Download (PDF 381.243 KB)

Additional Financial Support During COVID-19 - Presentation Slides

Presentation slides from the adviser network webinar held on Friday 05 June, focusing on additional financial support for benefit claimants.

Download (PDF 468.258 KB)

Cross Border Webinar Presentation Slides

Presentation slides from the cross border support webinar held alongside Border People.

Download (PDF 1.74 MB)

Letter to the Chancellor to Increase Child Benefit

Community and grassroots letter, calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, to increase Child Benefit to £50 per child per week.

Download (PDF 251.855 KB)

Adviser Network Webinar Slides - Tues 21 April 2020

Presentation slides from the Adviser Network Webinar on 21 April 2020.

Download (PDF 814.215 KB)

Update on Changes to Social Security in Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Northern Ireland [March 2020]

This resource sheet has been updated as of 22 April and provides a list of key changes and commitments around social security law and practice, following meetings with Department for Communities officials.

If you need any further help clarification, you can contact our social security team on (028) 9024 4401.

Download (PDF 384.694 KB)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 27 March 2020

Presentation slides from the Adviser Network Webinar on 27 March 2020

Download (PDF 368.123 KB)

Adviser guide: Advice on PIP in Northern Ireland: Law Centre NI Guide for PIP Advisers

This guide is designed to support advisers to provide advice and assistance to those involved with Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It helps advisers quickly identify and understand the relevant criteria involved in an award of PIP.

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Adviser guide: Universal Credit in Northern Ireland: A Law Centre NI Guide for Advisers

This guide aims to ensure advisers have an understanding of the changes brought in by the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) and will be able to advise claimants on entitlement and assist them in making claims.

Download (PDF 701.339 KB)

Adviser guide: understanding, avoiding and challenging sanctions

The Welfare Reform Support Project Consortium (Law Centre NI, Citizens Advice and Advice NI) presents ‘Understanding, avoiding and challenging sanctions: an adviser guide’. The guide is designed to assist frontline generalist advisers in their work in supporting benefit claimants who are at risk of being sanctioned or who have been sanctioned. A thorough understanding of sanctions will help advisers and their clients better understand, avoid and, where necessary, challenge sanctions.

Download (PDF 1.079 MB)

Resource sheet: finding legal evidence for social security

This resource sheet provides a starting point for finding legal evidence for the purposes of social security appeals. Please contact the Social Security hub if you require assistance.

Download (PDF 160.274 KB)