A household is defined as having a low income (‘poverty’ for short) if its income is less than 60% of the median UK household income for the year in question.

The Public Health Agency is working in partnership with the public, private, community, voluntary and academic sectors to research, evaluate and deliver a range of local and regional initiatives to alleviate fuel and food poverty and maximise incomes for those living in poverty.

  • Both poverty and economic inequality are bad for health.
  • Persistent poverty in Northern Ireland (21% before housing costs) is double that in Great Britain (GB) (9%).
  • In January 2010, 43,000 children in Northern Ireland were living in severe poverty.
  • There are four main reasons for higher persistent poverty in Northern Ireland: high levels of unemployment, high rates of disability and limiting long-term illness, low wages, poor quality part-time jobs and obstacles to working mothers.

Poverty is an important risk factor for illness and premature death. It affects health directly and indirectly in many ways, for example:

  • financial strain;
  • poorer housing, living environments and diet;
  • limited access to employment, services and opportunities.

Poor health can also cause poverty. In Northern Ireland, research on poverty carried out in 2006 found that 20% of the population was living in relative income poverty (where the household income is less than 60% of the median UK household income for the year in question) over the period 2002/03–2004/05.


Benefit Entitlement Awareness and Entitlement checks

Make the Call – Tel: 0800 232 1271 or Email: makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk

Ensure you’re getting all the benefits, services and supports you’re entitled to in confidence including help to complete the forms Text ADVICE to 079 8440 5248 https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/make-call-service


With all the recent changes in benefits recently, it can be difficult to understand if your benefits are affected and if so, how and why.

A new Benefits Awareness website has been launched by Turn2Us which aims to make it as easy as possible for anyone who is concerned or unsure to find out if, when and how the changes may affect them. https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk


People on low incomes may be missing out on vital financial support

New research reveals that those who could be in most need of financial help are not accessing the support potentially available to them, and that the current changes to benefits could further deter people from making a claim.   Read more


Tips for anyone worried about Benefit changes

If you are concerned about how the benefits changes might affect your claim, click on quick tips.

Over 3,000 grants from benevolent funds for people in financial distress/need or low income which do not need to be paid back. British and Irish Nationalities are eligible to apply. The conditions to get a grant from a fund might depend on things such as:

  • Having particular disabilities or illnesses: for example, Macmillan Cancer Support helps people affected by cancer
  • Working or previously worked in specific jobs or industries: for example, the Bank Workers Charity helps people who have worked in banks
  • Living in a particular area of the UK, such as a village, town, city, local council area, county, parish (past or present) or country.
  • Being of a particular age group, e.g. ‘older people’ or ‘children and ‘young people aged under 18’
  • Being male or female, some funds were set up to specifically help men or women in need.

Many funds also help the dependents of people their funds support eg their partners, ex-partners or dependent children.



Age NI are an intermediary body for Turn2us and can help anyone over 60 in financial difficulty identify the fund that suits them best – 0808 800 7575 advice@ageni.org  https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northern-ireland/services/advice-advocacy/


Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service – Freephone 0808 808 7575

Free independent and confidential support for older people, their families and carers including Benefits & personal Benevolent Grants advice@ageni.org



Age UK’s Benefits Calculator will provide an estimate of what benefits you could be entitled to. The calculator is free to use and the details you provide are anonymous. https://benefitscheck.ageuk.org.uk/Home/Start/


Other Benefit entitlement websites include www.entitledto.co.uk or https://capuk.org/money-and-debt-advice/benefits-calculator


Advice NI – Freephone Advice Helpline 0800 915 4604





Benefits Entitlement Service – for men and women across NI

If you would like to make an appointment with First Step Women’s Centre, Dungannon about your benefits, please contact Gillian via email: fswc.gillian@gmail.com 028 8772 7648 (Available to all throughout NI) https://www.firststepswomenscentre.org/index.php/what-we-do


STEP – Mid Ulster Advice Services (MIDAS)

(Previously Citizens Advice) Contact: www.facebook.com/STEPMidUlster

Dungannon  028 8775 0211

Magherafelt  028 7963 3079

Cookstown  028 8676 1875


Advice for Health outreach services – covers Causeway and Mid Ulster areas advice@advicecauseway.com T: 028 7034 4817



Money Helper: https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/ 0800 011 3797


The Law Centre NI provides free, independent legal help re: social security, employment or immigration advice. Advice Line: 028 9024 4401 https://www.lawcentreni.org/ or email your general query with your contact details to: admin@lawcentreni.org or Benefits related to: benefits@lawcentreni.org  They have a cost of living guide and an online tool to check benefit entitlements and other sources of financial help.


Cost of Living Resource: CYPSP have developed a Cost of Living Resource which provides details of targeted resources & support for families & children struggling with the current cost of living crisis. https://cypsp.hscni.net/download/390/lpg/39049/cost-of-living-crisis-resource.pdf

If you would like to include info on your service, please email una.casey@hscni.net



Find a Trussel Trust Foodbank https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/

or contact your local council to find your nearest independent food bank.


CAP– Key information to help you make the right choices with your finances, including help with budgeting and some key terms explained.

https://capuk.org/money-and-debt-advice/improve-your-financial-situation https://capuk.org/money-and-debt-advice/support-with-the-cost-of-living  


Debt Advice:

Advice NI- https://www.adviceni.net/money-debt/debt Find your local Debt adviser https://www.adviceni.net/money-debt/debt/local-debt-advice


CAP Debt Advice Tel:0800 328 006 https://capuk.org/get-help/cap-debt-help

Hope Magherafelt  – 10a Broad Street, Magherafelt, BT45 6EA Contact Ruth: 075 9163 6874 E: ruthcarson@capuk.org Tue & Wed 8.30am – 4.30pm  https://www.facebook.com/HopeMagherafelt/

Money Guiders programme – provides free money guidance training and professional development to Organisations and Practitioners that have money conversations with service users maps.org.uk/money-guiders

E: Margaret.McCloskey@maps.org.uk