We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]


If your stay in hospital (or similar institution) is as an inpatient, this can affect your benefits. Some benefits can be reduced or suspended, while others can be kept in full.

A keyboard button with a medical symbol on it.It is essential that you inform the benefits office promptly if you are going into hospital and, likewise, when you leave hospital.

The length of time you are in hospital may affect your benefits:

Private Patients

Private patients who pay for the whole cost of accommodation and non-medical services in hospital are not deemed to be an inpatient. Therefore the normal rules of benefit entitlement apply, rather than the information described below.

The 28 Day Rule (Linking Rule)

Hospital stays that are 28 days or less apart are added together and counted as one stay when calculating how long you have spent in hospital.

The day you are admitted to hospital should not be counted in the 28 days. For Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance, the day you leave hospital should not be counted either.

If you have two (or more) separate short stays which are 28 days or less apart, the same rules apply as above.

After a Hospital Stay

You should inform the appropriate benefits office as soon as possible about the date that you will be discharged from hospital to avoid losing any benefits.

You should get the benefits you were receiving before you went into hospital, provided your circumstances have not changed.

Hospital Fares and Travel Costs

If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to help with the cost of travelling to and from hospital. Find out whether you qualify for help with travel costs.