Justin Tomlinson gets questioned on PIP assessments
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Through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the UK Government provides families with financial support over the holiday season to assist with heating bills, such as the Winter Fuel Payment. Over the past couple of the years, many of the country’s devolved governments have introduced supplementary benefit schemes to achieve the same goal. Last year, the Scottish Government in Holyrood launched its own Child Winter Heating Assistance which PIP and DLA claimants are eligible to receive.
Recently, legislation was introduced in the Scottish Parliament which would see an increase in essential support to more than 19,400 children and young people to help their families heat their homes this winter. This legislation expands the eligibility of Child Winter Heating Assistance to include benefit claimants who are getting the enhanced daily living component of PIP from the DWP. If this update to legislation is passed, an extra 5,000 families will get payments, which will be backdated to when the scheme was introduced last year. Currently, those in receipt of the highest rated care component of DLA are eligible for this payment.
Between November 2020 and March 2021, more than 14,000 payments worth a combined £2.8 million were made to those receiving the financial assistance. Child Winter Heating Assistance is a payment of £202 which is made annually to those who are eligible for support. Those who meet the eligibility criteria do not need to apply as the payment will be made automatically by Social Security Scotland. All families will get a letter of confirmation once the first payment has been made.
In order to start receiving payments, claimants need to be aged 18 or under, and receive the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance for children. Alternatively, they can receive the highest rate care component of Child Disability Payment or get the enhanced daily living component of PIP. However, those on PIP must get their payment on at least one day betweenSeptember 20, 2021 and September 26, 2021. Payments will begin towards the end of November and payments will be made in batches over the Christmas season.
At the time of the scheme’s expansion, the Scottish Government’s Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison outlined why it is so essential that payments are given to as many families as possible. Ms Robison said: “This extra money helps families of seriously disabled children and young people with the additional costs associated with heating their homes for longer periods. The Child Winter Heating Assistance is one of seven brand new benefits we have used using social security powers. I’m pleased that by extending eligibility, more than 5,000 more families will benefit from this £202 payment during the colder months.
“Getting this money to families automatically in winter will help them budget and balance the many financial pressures that they can face at this time of year.” Child Winter Heating Assistance is paid automatically into the same account benefits claimants get their PIP and DLA payments. No application is required for the benefit scheme. Benefit claimants in Scotland receive their payments from Social Security Scotland and not the DWP.
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