Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced that payments from the £55m Energy Payment Support Scheme will start being paid from 10 March 2022.
This one-off payment of £200 will provide support for people struggling to meet rising energy costs due to the global fuel crisis. It will be made automatically to around 280,000 eligible people in receipt of specified benefits. The payment will be made through existing payment channels, without the need for an application.
Minister Hargey said: “The rising cost of living and soaring increases in energy bills continues to have major impact on people who are finding it harder to cope. Many are struggling to afford essentials, such as heating their homes and paying for their electricity.
“As Communities Minister my top priority has always been to support people. I therefore secured £55m which will ensure 280,000 eligible people and families will see payments of £200 starting to be received into bank accounts next week.”
Individuals will be eligible for this payment if, during the qualifying week (Monday 13th December to Sunday 19th December 2021 inclusive), they were in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
- Pension Credit;
- Universal Credit;
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance; or
- Income Support.The Minister said: “This much needed support of £55m is in addition to schemes we already have in place. These include the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes, Cold Weather Payments, Discretionary Support and the Winter Fuel Payment which has paid out over £51m this winter to more than 290,000 older people. My department also provided a £2m contribution to an Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme, operated by Bryson Care.
“During these difficult times I would encourage people to contact the Department’s Make the Call service which is in place to connect people with the benefits, supports and services to which they are entitled. To 'Make the Call' you can phone 0800 232 1271; text ADVICE to 67300; Visit nidirect or makethecall or email makethecall."
Notes to editors:
1. Funding for the Energy Payment Support Scheme has been provided to the Department for Communities following reallocations from Executive departments and a £13.8 million Barnett consequential relating to the Household Support Fund.
2. More information on the Energy Payment Support Scheme is available on NI Direct
3. The Department for Communities has provided a £2m contribution to an Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme, operated by Bryson Care. The scheme launched on 06 January and as of 18 February, almost seventeen thousand (16,943) applications have been received of which almost eleven thousand (10,469) were eligible. Payments totalling over one million pounds (£1,039,450) have been made. Almost all eligible applicants received support within 24 hours.
4. The Department for Communities also provides energy support through the Affordable Warmth Scheme, Cold Weather Payments, and Discretionary Support. To date 290,915 people have received Winter Fuel Payments as part of this year’s scheme to a total value of £51.8 million.
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