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13 July, 2021 Open access

Reintroduction of the universal credit minimum income floor in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to 31 July 2022

New statutory rule makes provision in relation to Northern Ireland corresponding to that in Great Britain

New regulations have been issued in Northern Ireland to give the Department for Communities flexibility to manage the reintroduction of the minimum income floor (MIF) over the 12 months to 31 July 2022.

In force from 31 July 2021, the Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Restoration of the Minimum Income Floor) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR.No.209/2021) further extend for a 12 month period three measures that are currently being applied by the Department to the end of July 2021 that -

The explanatory note to the regulations advises that during the period of the extension, the application of the MIF easement is subject to the following further provisions -

'Where the MIF easement is already being applied when these Regulations come into operation (that is in all cases where a claimant had been determined to be in gainful self-employment before a general suspension of the MIF was applied from 13 March 2020 by regulation 2 of SR.No.33/2020) the Department must restore the MIF in the next assessment period after determining that the claimant continues to be in gainful self-employment or, if the claimant was in a 12 month startup period on 13 March 2020, once the balance of the period remaining on that date has expired.

But the Department may still apply the MIF easement in certain limited circumstances. The claimant’s business must remain affected by the outbreak of coronavirus disease and the MIF easement must not be applied for more than 2 assessment periods on each occasion and not for more than 6 assessment periods in total.

The Department may decide that no further reductions of the MIF are to be given if satisfied that economic conditions have sufficiently improved. Any period for which a reduction has already given will be allowed to expire.’

NB - these regulations make in relation to Northern Ireland provision corresponding to provision contained in SI.No.807/2021 made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in relation to Great Britain.

SR.No.209/2021 is available from legislation.gov.uk