Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Increased emergency financial support access announced

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has announced increased access to emergency financial support in response to COVID-19.

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The Assembly has approved a change to Discretionary Support legislation which will provide increased access to emergency financial support for claimants who find themselves in a crisis.



The change to legislation raises the Annual Income Threshold to £20,405 (this is the level of income below which a person is eligible for Discretionary Support).

Speaking to Newry Times, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA said, “I am determined that my Department will do everything it can to help people during this extremely difficult time. 

“This amendment will mean that many more people on low incomes will be able to access emergency financial support. 



“This will include the new living expenses grant for people affected by COVID-19 that the Assembly recently approved. 

“I can advise that almost 1,300 living expenses grants for COVID-19, totalling approximately £219,000, have already been issued.



“This includes £175,000 awarded to more than 1,000 households in the week ending 17 April.

“Indeed, in the past month, my Department has awarded over £1 million in emergency financial support to more than 5,000 households.”

The Minister added, “The introduction of this amendment to Discretionary Support, alongside the other changes introduced recently, will enable more people on low incomes access to emergency financial support and will provide further help to the most vulnerable in society who are facing extreme, exceptional or crisis situations during this period.”

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Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE



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