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Social Security Benefits: Disability

Question for Treasury

UIN 28914, tabled on 1 July 2022

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for the one-off energy rebate for those in receipt of contribution-based disability benefits.

Answered on

11 July 2022

The Government is helping domestic electricity customers in Great Britain to cope with the impact of higher energy bills, with £400 off their bills from October through the expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS). This is a doubling of the £200 of support announced in February, and there will no longer be any repayments. All households with a domestic electricity meter will be automatically eligible to receive EBSS.

The Government understands that the rising cost of living has presented additional financial challenges to many people, and especially to the most vulnerable members of society, such as disabled people. That is why the Cost of Living package announced on 26 May includes UK-wide support to help disabled people with the particular extra costs they are facing, with 6 million people who receive non-means-tested extra-costs disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment due to receive a one-off Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150.

Receipt of New Style Employment and Support Allowance (NS ESA) alone does not confer eligibility for this payment. NS ESA is an incapacity benefit providing income support to those whose ability to work is affected by a disability or health condition – it is not an extra-costs disability benefit. If someone in receipt of NS ESA requires further financial support because of the additional costs associated with living with a disability, then they may be able to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – receipt of NS ESA does not preclude receipt of this benefit. However, claims for PIP made after 25 May will be ineligible for the one-off Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150.

The Government is also providing a one-off Cost of Living Payment of £650 for over 8 million households across the UK in receipt of means-tested benefits, paid in two instalments. These payments will only be made to those on means-tested benefits in order to support households on the lowest incomes. Contributory ESA and other new style benefits were not included as qualifying benefits for this Cost of Living Payment because they are not means-tested, so households in receipt of these benefits may have other financial resources available to them.

To support households who need additional help, the Government is providing an extra £500 million towards the cost of essentials. In England this will be via an extension to the Household Support Fund with the Devolved Administrations receiving £79 million. This is in addition to the £1 billion already provided via the Household Support Fund.

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