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The Discretionary Financial Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

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Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Discretionary Financial Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 and come into operation immediately after the coming into operation of the Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016(1).

Amendment to the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001

2.—(1) The Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(2) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (7).

(2) In regulation 1(2) (interpretation) after the definition of “the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations” add—

“relevant award of universal credit” means an award of universal credit the calculation of which includes an amount under section 16 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015, calculated in accordance with Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations, or would include such an amount but for paragraph 3(e) of Schedule 1 to those Regulations;

“universal credit” means universal credit under Part 2 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015;

“the Universal Credit Regulations” means the Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016;.

(3) In regulation 2(3) (discretionary housing payments)—

(a)in paragraph (1) after “housing benefit “insert “or a relevant award of universal credit”;

(b)at the end of sub-paragraph (b) omit “or”;

(c)at the end of sub-paragraph (c) for “and” substitute “or” and add—

(d)the relevant award of universal credit has been determined in accordance with paragraph 24 (cap rent) of Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations or reduced under regulation 81 of those regulations (reduction of universal credit), and;

(d)in paragraph (3) after “housing benefit” insert “or a relevant award of universal credit”.

(4) In regulation 3 (circumstances in which discretionary housing payments may be made)—

(a)after paragraph (aa)(4) insert—

(ab)a liability to meet any payment in respect of service charges other than a payment listed in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 to the Universal Credit Regulations;;

(b)after paragraph (k)(5) add—

(l)a reduction in the amount of universal credit due to recovery of an overpayment pursuant to section 69ZB of the Social Security Administration Act (Northern Ireland) 1992(6);

(m)a reduction in the amount of universal credit pursuant to a decision made under Article 31 or 32 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015..

(5) For regulation 4(7) (limit on the amount of the discretionary housing payment that may be made) substitute—

4.(1) Where a person is entitled to housing benefit the amount of the discretionary housing payment (if calculated as a weekly sum) shall not exceed—

(a)the aggregate of the payments specified in regulation 13(1) of the Housing Benefit Regulations less the aggregate of the amounts referred to in regulation 13A(2) of those Regulations calculated on a weekly basis in accordance with regulations 78 and 79 of those Regulations; or

(b)the aggregate of the payments specified in regulation 13(1) of the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations less the aggregate of the amounts referred to in regulation 13A(2) of those Regulations, calculated on a weekly basis in accordance with regulations 59 and 60 of those Regulations.

(2) Where a person is entitled to a relevant award of universal credit the amount of the discretionary housing payment (if calculated as a monthly sum) shall not exceed—

(a)the amount calculated in accordance with Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations; or

(b)where paragraph 3(e) of Schedule 1 to the Universal Credit Regulations applies, the aggregate of the payments referred to in paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to those Regulations, calculated on a monthly basis..

(6) In regulation 5 (period for, or in respect of which, discretionary housing payments may be made) in paragraph (2) after “housing benefit” insert “or relevant award of universal credit”.

(7) In regulation 6(8)(form, manner and procedure for claims)—

(a)in paragraph (1)(b)(i) after “housing benefit” insert “or relevant award of universal credit”;

(b)in paragraph (2) after “housing benefit” insert “or relevant award of universal credit”.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Caroline Dinenage

Minister of State

Department for Work and Pensions

6th July 2017

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