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New £55 heating payment due this winter to help 400,000 people with energy bills

Scots are split about refusing to pay energy bills to protest price increases
Scots are split about refusing to pay energy bills to protest price increases

Social Security Scotland has reported an approximate sum of £20million being disbursed to nearly 400,000 low-income individuals across the nation during February and March of this year. This was made possible through the all-new Winter Heating Payment, which managed to gather a total of £19.7 million in aid for 394,135 homes in its inaugural year. Almost all the eligible Scottish citizens received their automatic payments of £50.

This recently introduced benefit is accessible exclusively in Scotland, replacing the £25 Cold Weather Payment formerly distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, unlike the benefit granted previously by the DWP, the Winter Heating Payment is independent of weather conditions in a specific area and is a one-time, yearly grant made regardless of temperature.

Social Security Scotland announced earlier this year that the payment amount will rise to £55.05 this coming winter; a respective increase of 10.1 percent in correlation with the April benefits adjustments. Furthermore, the qualifying week for 2023 has been set as November 6th to 12th.

According to Social Security Scotland data, the Cold Weather Payment supported an average of 185,000 individuals residing on the northern end of the border every year, between the winters of 2015/16 and 2021/22. Conversely, the freshly introduced Winter Heating Payment aims to support an estimated 400,000 citizens per year.

The new system is unique in that it is not exclusively linked to cold weather conditions being present for a certain amount of time. As a result, many low-income households which didn’t receive Cold Weather Payments previously stand to benefit from the changes.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, commented on the payment’s introduction this year, stating: “The ongoing cost of living crisis and higher energy bills mean people in Glasgow and across Scotland are finding it tougher to maintain their homes at sufficient temperatures. Therefore, it’s a positive development that £19.7 million was allocated to almost 400,000 people on the lowest incomes.

“Making the decision to increase investment in this Scottish Government benefit, and to distribute it universally regardless of the weather to everyone eligible, signifies that more money is being channelled to more people than via the old DWP benefit. Clearly, these funds have supplied much-needed financial support for energy costs during the difficult winter months.”

“I strongly urge anyone facing difficulties due to the cost of living crisis in Glasgow to consult the Scottish Government’s Cost of Living website for support and advice.”

The full guide to the new system is currently accessible on the Scot.Gov website, available here.

If you are eligible for a payment, Social Security Scotland will send out a letter advising you before the funds are transferred to you.

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