Low income households in Scotland to get £50 annual payment towards winter energy bills - here's all you need to know
Some 400,000 households in Scotland will receive £50 annually to help towards winter heating costs, irrespective of weather conditions. It replaces the Cold Weather Payment, which only pays out if temperatures fall below zero degrees over seven consecutive days.
The new £50 payment, called the Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, will be sent to those eligible every winter starting in February next year. It isn't clear what day in February the payments will start, or if everyone will be paid on one day, but we've asked and will update this piece as soon as we know more.
The payment will be made automatically, so recipients do not need to do anything - see below for full info on who is eligible. Payments of this sort are usually sent to the same bank account other benefits are paid into.
It replaces the current Cold Weather Payment scheme for households on low incomes used in the rest of the UK, which the Scottish Government says is “unreliable”. Households currently receive £25 when temperatures are recorded or forecast at below zero degrees for seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March.
The Scottish Government said it only paid out £325,000 via 11,000 Cold Weather Payments in the last tax year but that the change would see a total payout of £20 million across 400,000 households.
For more assistance, see our How to get help if you're struggling with your energy bills guide.
Eligibility criteria for the £50 Low Income Winter Heating Assistance payment
A 'qualifying week' has been set for November 2022 - during which the Government will determine who is eligible for the £50. You do not need to do anything or make an application yourself. We've asked for the dates of the qualifying week and will update this story when we know more.
Those eligible for the Low Income Winter Heating Assistance will already be receiving:
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Pension credit
- Universal credit
- Support for mortgage interest
For more info on eligibility, see our Cold weather payments guide.