Northern Ireland announces improvements to the Affordable Warmth eligibility criteria

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Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced changes to the Affordable Warmth Scheme eligibility criteria to help more households who are in fuel poverty.

The changes are:

  • Increasing the income threshold from £20,000 to £23,000.
  • Dis-applying of certain benefits from the calculation of income; namely Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Carer’s Allowance and Attendance Allowance.

Minister Hargey commented on the announcement: “Since the inception of the Affordable Warmth Scheme in September 2014, over £85m has been invested to improve energy efficiency for more than 19,500 low income households.

“I have approved changes to the eligibility criteria for the Affordable Warmth Scheme so that more households in need can access the support available through this innovative scheme.

“The changes will increase the income threshold and importantly will exclude some benefits from that income calculation.”

The Affordable Warmth Scheme is the NI Executive’s main Scheme to target and assist low income owner-occupiers and householders who rent their home from a private landlord who are most at risk of fuel poverty.

The Scheme offers a range of energy efficiency improvement measures, including loft, cavity and solid wall insulation, new and replacement heating systems and replacement windows where appropriate.

It is a targeted scheme where local councils actively identify the most vulnerable households who can then benefit from improvements.

The Department has laid a Statutory Rule in the Assembly today, meaning the changes should be effective from 1 July 2021.