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Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced a £55m 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 certain benefits. The payment will be made through existing payment channels, without the need for an application.
It was to be paid out on Friday, March 11.
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.”
Who is eligible?
Individuals will be eligible for this payment if, during the qualifying week of Monday 13 December to Sunday 19 19 2021, they were in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
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.”
When will payments start?
Those eligible will start to see payments in their bank accounts from 11 March 2022.
I'm not eligible, what support is out there for me?
Deirdre Hargey has said she is exploring options given the cost of living crisis. She however, has said the lack of an Executive following the DUP pull out has limited her options.