Energy payments of £200 to help families cope with rising costs will begin going out from next week.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced that payments from the £55million Energy Payment Support Scheme will start being paid from March 10.
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 £55million 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 13 December to Sunday 19 December 2021 inclusive), they were in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
Income-based Jobseekers Allowance; or
The Minister said: “This much needed support of £55million 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 £51million this winter to more than 290,000 older people. My department also provided a £2million 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.gov.uk/makethecall or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”