Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has welcomed confirmation those undergoing benefit appeals will receive a COVID-19 heating payment if they are successful in the process.
The Department for Communities provided a one-off heating payment of £200 for those who are in receipt of certain higher rate disability benefits. Payments were due to be made during the week commencing January 25, however, many are still waiting, having ongoing appeals to see if they qualify for the benefits.
The Communities Minister has now confirmed if the appeal is successful and backdated, they will also receive the heating payment.
“I am pleased these payments will be made automatically to people where a successful appeal results in a retrospective award for one of the qualifying benefits for the scheme,” said Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong.
“The payments will be made under the existing COVID-19 Heating Payment Scheme regulations without the need for a further statutory rule, as people in these circumstances will have met the existing eligibility criteria.
“Appeals are progressing but at a much slower rate than normal due to the pandemic. The key is now getting them completed so those qualifying are not left further out of pocket.”