The proposed welfare reforms have been widely described as the most radical shake up of the social security system in over 40 years. The aim of the reforms and subsequent Bill is to simplify the benefits system, improve work incentives to encourage claimants to move from benefits to work and reduce administration costs. However, the implementation of the changes will impact upon a significant percentage of the working age population in Northern Ireland.
A joint inquiry has been launched by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee into the impact of welfare policy in NI including a focus on policies such as Universal Credit and the two-child limit.
Advice NI and NICVA are warning that, with less than a year to go before Welfare Reform Mitigation runs out, thousands of vulnerable people across Northern Ireland may be facing a substantial drop in income and even eviction.
The importance of Welfare Reform in Northern Ireland has shrunk, grown or both - depending on your views - thanks to the Chancellor's July budget. Over 100,000 homes have projected income reductions of over £1,600. Scope takes a look.
DWP says sanctions are a "last resort" and encouragement to work - but some reported examples make that description look laughable, and could make them the biggest danger to Welfare Reform. Scope takes a look.