Explained: your questions about Northern Ireland’s £200 energy payment scheme answered

A one-off payment of £200 to help people on certain benefits with rising energy costs will start rolling out on Friday March 11.

Eligible recipients were originally due to automatically receive £200 into their bank accounts from Thursday, but the Communities Minister said the rollout had been delayed due to a “technical issue”.

Below, the Belfast Telegraph has compiled the most asked questions from the public about the energy payment scheme, so you can find out if and when it applies to you.

While the Department for Communities (DfC) has confirmed that the majority of the £200 payments will be issued on Friday, the rollout could take a little longer as the funds will be automatically paid into the bank accounts of around 280,000 people.

However, anyone who has not received payment by March 28, 2022 and who believes they are eligible should contact the relevant benefits office below.

Pension credit: 0800 587 0892

Jobseeker’s allowance or income support: 0800 022 4250

Employment and support allowance: 0800 587 1377

Universal Credit: Via your online newspaper or 0800 012 1331

Individuals will be eligible for this payment if, during the week of December 13 to December 19, 2021, they received one or more of the following benefits:

pension credit;

Universal Credit;

Income-related employment and support allowance;

income-based jobseeker’s allowance; Where

Income support

“People who receive PIP, DLA or Caregiver Allowance may be eligible for payment if they also receive one of the eligible benefits listed above,” a DfC spokesperson said.

Persons benefiting from tax credits for children or work, or pensioners receiving the state pension are also not eligible for this scheme.

A common misconception is that this one-time payment is a loan. Individuals in Northern Ireland will not have to repay this amount.

It is often confused with a similar scheme in England, the Energy Bills Rebate, under which 28 million households are to receive an initial reduction on their bills worth £200.

Energy suppliers will apply the reduction to domestic electricity customers from October, with the government bearing the costs. The rebate will then be automatically collected from individuals’ bills in equal installments of £40 over the next five years. This will start from 2023, when global wholesale gas prices are expected to fall.

Asked if similar schemes would be made available to people needing help with energy costs, the DfC spokesman said: ‘There is currently £300million stuck in the executive. To distribute this money to people, you need a functioning executive.

“The £55m Energy Payment Support Scheme will start paying out from March 11, 2022. This one-off £200 payment will provide support for people struggling to cope with rising costs energy due to the global fuel crisis.

“It will be paid automatically to approximately 280,000 eligible people receiving specified benefits. Payment will be made through existing payment channels, without the need to submit an application.”

Ms Hargey encouraged people to get more in touch with her ministry’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 call 0800 232 1271, text ADVICE to 67300, visit nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall or email [email protected]

You may also be eligible for Discretionary support or the Universal Credit Provident Fund.

The Department for Communities said it had also provided a £2million contribution to an Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme, a crisis fund run by Bryson Charitable Group for households in immediate need and at risk to be disconnected or who have been disconnected from their energy. to supply.

The program was launched on January 6 and as of February 18, nearly 17,000 applications had been received, of which nearly 11,000 were eligible.

The ministry added that almost all eligible applicants received assistance within 24 hours.

The scheme provides eligible households with one-off support of up to £100 worth of electricity, gas or kerosene.

Applications can be submitted until the end of this month (March 31, 2022) and must be made via a online formwhich will be available on the Bryson Charitable Group website from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. Friday.

You can check your eligibility for this payment scheme here.

Criteria include having received an electricity/gas bill within the last five days, which you cannot afford to pay, and/or having a total gross annual household income of less than 23 £000 (not including Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Allowance).

The utility regulator has also advised members of the public who are struggling with rising energy costs to try and seek help from charities such as NI Tips, Christians Against Poverty and National Energy Action.

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Elaine R. Knight