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Lone Pensioner Allowance

Lone Pensioner Allowance

One of the outcomes of the Executive Review of Domestic Rating, announced by the Finance Minister, Peter D. Robinson, MP, MLA on the 27 November 2007, was the decision to introduce a 20% Lone Pensioner Allowance for those aged 70 and over in April 2008. This measure was the subject of a subsequent consultation which ended on 25 January 2008. Ten consultation responses were received and have been carefully analysed. All of the responses have been published on this website, along with a copy of the original consultation report.

Informed by the outcomes of the consultation, the following key decisions have been taken in relation to the Allowance:

   ●  The Allowance will be application based due to data sharing limitations. The application form will be separate from that used for Housing Benefit/Rate Relief. It will also be as simple as possible. In the future, it is hoped that a more automated process can be adopted, and further work on increased data-sharing, resulting from the Executive Review, is now being taken forward by the Department.

   ●  The Allowance will be administered jointly by Land and Property Services (LPS) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) along the same lines as Housing Benefit/Rate Relief i.e. LPS will administer the allowance for the owner-occupier sector and NIHE will administer it for the private and social rented sectors.

   ●  The Allowance will only be awarded against the applicant’s sole or main residence.

   ●  Certain persons will be disregarded from occupancy of a property for the purposes of the Allowance, namely

       ○  a resident carer or a person receiving care from a person aged 70 or over (subject to certain conditions such as they are not a spouse),

       ○  those who would normally be residing in the property but are in long term care or in hospital,

       ○  someone who is severally mentally impaired,

       ○  persons under 18 and

       ○  persons over 18 in respect of whom child benefit is payable.

   ●  The allowance will be applied after the award of other reliefs, such as Disabled Persons Allowance, Housing Benefit, Rate Relief and Transitional Relief.

   ●  If an applicant wishes to appeal a decision made by LPS or NIHE with regard to an application for the allowance, the first stage will be an internal review by the relevant body. If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome of that review, there will then be a further right of appeal to the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal.

On the 14 March 2008 the Department made a set of Regulations entitled, the Rate Relief (Lone Pensioner Allowance) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008, which gave effect to these policy decisions and which will bring the Allowance into operation on 1 April 2008. Further information in relation to making an application for the allowance can be accessed through the Land and Property Services website from 1 April onwards.