Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for Communities, in light of rising energy costs, what provision will be made within the benefits system to provide an additional domestic heating payment for people on lower income.
Minister for Communities: The Social Fund Cold Weather Payment Scheme provides a one off payment of £25 when the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. More information is available at: Cold Weather Payment | nidirect
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax free and non means tested benefit which is paid annually to eligible older people. The rate payable is between £100 and £300 depending on personal circumstances, to help people pay their heating bills. More information is available at: Winter Fuel Payment | nidirect
An award of short-term financial help may also be made through the Discretionary Support scheme to assist with additional expenditure for fuel, I have asked officials to consider if there are any additional actions that my Department can take to help mitigate against the impact of rising energy costs.