Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced a £55 million Energy Payment Support Scheme for vulnerable people struggling to meet rising energy costs due to the global fuel crisis.
A one-off payment of £200 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,
“Huge hikes in energy prices have placed even more pressure on people who are already struggling this winter.
“That’s why I am providing a one-off payment of £200 to support those people and families who, without additional support, may struggle to heat their homes or pay their energy bills.
“I know the impact that rising global energy prices are having on people on low incomes and I have secured this funding in order to protect people from the worst impacts.
“These payments will be made as soon as practically possible.”
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 continued,
“My Department continues to offer a range of support to assist vulnerable people on low-incomes who are in fuel poverty. This includes schemes to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes, as well as Cold Weather and Winter Fuel Payments and Discretionary Support.
“This funding is vital in providing further financial support to help vulnerable people meet their energy costs and to supporting people in maintaining their physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
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. For more information on the Energy Payment Support Scheme go to NI Direct
3. The £55million Energy Payment Support Scheme is in addition to a Department for Communities’ Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme announced at the end of December and administered by Bryson Care. The £2m scheme aims to deliver targeted support to those who present as being in an immediate fuel crisis and who have a temporary inability to meet their fuel costs.
4. The Department for Communities also provides energy support through the Affordable Warmth Scheme, Cold Weather Payments, and Discretionary Support. To date 290,632 people have received Winter Fuel Payments as part of this year’s scheme to a total value of £51.7 million.
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