Child Winter Heating Assistance is a yearly payment of £202 to assist families who have a child or young person on certain disability benefits, and it applies only in Scotland.
This payment exclusively goes towards heating their homes during the winter months and is paid by the Scottish Government.
As it is a benefit scheme from a devolved political institution, the DWP is not responsible for dealing with claims regarding Child Winter Heating Assistance. All claims are processed through Social Security Scotland.
Launched last year during the pandemic, more than 14,000 payments worth a total of £2.8million were made between November and mid-March 2021.
Currently, Child Winter Heating Assistance is available to those who receive the highest rated care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Last week, legislation was introduced in the Scottish Parliament to extend the eligibility for the benefit payment to young people aged between 16 to 18, who get the enhanced daily living component of PIP (Personal Independence Payment).
If passed in Holyrood, Child Winter Heating Assistance will be extended to more than 19,400 children and young people to help their families heat their homes.
READ MORE: ‘The aim is to scare you!’ Nationwide scam warning as Britons duped
This will lead to 5,000 additional families receiving the payments, which are set to be backdated from last year.
Those who are in receipt of DLA do not need to apply as the payment will be made automatically by Social Security Scotland.
Instead, all families who are eligible will be sent a letter of confirmation to coincide with when the payment is eventually made.
Shona Robison, the Scottish Government’s Social Justice Secretary, outlined why Holyrood is proposing to expand the eligibility criteria for Child Winter Heating Assistance.
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.”
The Scottish Government’s expansion of the benefit scheme comes as opposition parties call for Holyrood to receive social security powers, particularly in regards to Winter Fuel Payment.
During the Labour Party Conference yesterday, Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar said the Scottish Parliament’s powers could be used to increase the allowance by £70 for those on lower incomes.
Mr Sarwar said: “In Scotland, 150,000 pensioners live in relative poverty every year – with thousands more on the brink.
“The Scottish parliament has the power to make winter payments reflect the pressures on fuel-poor households, but the SNP have delayed taking responsibility.
“That is why we would give every pensioner on the lowest incomes £70 now to help them through the winter months.”
These calls to raise the amount given to claimants of Winter Fuel Payment come as the energy price cap is forecast increase at the end of the month
The cap limits the amount suppliers can charge for their default tariffs and the pending hike is set to hit low-income households the hardest.
Through the Winter Fuel Payment, anyone born either on or before September 26,1995 are able to get anywhere between £100 and £300 to help pay for their heating bills.
This payment is solely for Britons who are receiving the new state pension or receive other benefit payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), such as Universal Credit.
All payments are made by the DWP to claimants sometime in November and December to assist vulnerable people over the winter months.
However, additional benefit schemes similar to the Winter Fuel Payment are also available to people who are not of the state pension age.