Some 290,000 people with disabilities who receive PIP, DLA and AA benefits will be excluded from the Warm Home Discount scheme when it reopens this year, according to government plans confirmed today
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The government has banned 290,000 disability benefit claimants from claiming £150 a year in benefits to help with energy bills.
The news comes on the same day that more than 90% of households are facing staggering increases in energy bills an average of £693 per year .
That’s what the government originally planned Block 210,000 people from receiving the Warm Home Discount payments.
This scheme gives state money to energy companies, which is then passed on as a rebate of £140 on household bills – rising to £150 this year.
But today the government confirmed the number of disabled people unable to claim a warm home discount would instead be 290,000 – an increase from 80,000.
The move drew criticism from disability group Scope, which called it an “insult” and called on the government to reverse the decision.
The changes mean that people claiming Disability Support Assistance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP), or Attendance Allowance (AA) will no longer be able to apply for the program, which will reopen later in the year.
The government has confirmed that it will increase the number of people who can apply for a warm home discount by 750,000 to 3 million and extend the program until 2026.
However, 290,000 people with disabilities will not be entitled at all under the confirmed plans.
Government documents justified the decision by saying that more people would benefit overall.
These documents state that the “overall proportion of recipients with a long-term illness or disability, while decreasing as a result of the proposed reforms, is still higher than the proportion of low-energy individuals with a disability and the proportion of the total population with a disability”.
Louise Rubin, Scope’s Head of Policy and Campaigns, said: “This move is an insult to people with disabilities who have been making savings for months.
“In the midst of the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, it is almost unimaginable that the government will cut nearly 300,000 disabled people from support for rising energy bills.
“Life costs more when you are disabled. Our energy hotline is now being inundated with calls from disabled people who are already facing sky-high energy bills and don’t know how to afford to charge essential appliances or keep warm as the crisis rages on.
“At a time when we are facing a real cut in benefits, it is crucial that the government reverses this decision.”
The government has been asked for comment.
For those on a variable energy bill tariff paying by direct debit, the price cap for this year’s bills will increase by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971.
Prepaid customers will see a bigger jump as their price cap increases by £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.
The price cap applies to anyone on a variable tariff — the kind of energy bill you’ll have if you’re no longer on a fixed contract or if you’ve switched to a new provider after your old energy company collapsed.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/government-blocks-300000-disabled-people-26612947 Government prevents 300,000 disabled people from claiming £150 energy bill