Inverness Winter Payment Scheme promotion triggers multiple benefits claimed

Promotion of the Inverness Winter Payment Scheme and the work of Highland Council’s Welfare Support team has made significant financial changes to some households in Inverness. 

Leader of Inverness and Area, Councillor Ian Brown said: “I am pleased that Members have agreed to continue to allocate Inverness Common Good Funding to provide some financial support during winter when extra fuel is needed to keep homes warm. The scheme is designed to help people who are most in need and is aimed at anyone on low income of all ages and not just pensioners. 

“I would also like to commend Highland Council staff for promoting and delivering the scheme. An example shown to councillors today has highlighted that because of the promotion of the scheme an Inverness daughter’s actions to alert the Welfare Support team to her elderly parents’ situation not only resulted in them receiving an Inverness Winter Payment but a whole range of benefits that they were entitled to totalling a combined lump sum gain of £4,245 and a weekly combined amount of £169.89. 

“It’s vital that people who are entitled to benefits claim them or ask for help in claiming them if they feel they cannot apply. I commend our Welfare SupportTeam for the excellent work that they do in assisting householders to apply for what can be life-changing awards that they are entitled to.” 

Councillors have agreed to provide an Inverness Winter Payments Discretionary Scheme for 2024/25 of £111 per eligible household in addition to the financial support already available to some households from the Department for Work and Pensions and Social Security Scotland. 

Members agreed to apply a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase to the £106 award rate for 2023/24 resulting in this year’s higher total of £111. And following an amendment Members further agreed to review the Inverness Winter Payment Scheme at its meeting on 18 November 2024 to look at repurposing any underspend in the Inverness Common Good Fund into an increased payment award for the Inverness Winter Payment scheme. 

Over 1600 households in Inverness benefitted from the much-needed Scheme last winter 2023/24 - which is fully funded by the Inverness Common Fund and was available to eligible people within the 7 specified Inverness Wards of Aird and Loch Ness, Inverness West, Inverness Central, Inverness Ness-side, Inverness Millburn, Culloden and Ardersier and Inverness South. 

Inverness Common Good Funding can only be used to principally benefit people living within the geographic area of the former Burgh of Inverness. 

During winter 2023/24 the scheme disbursed 1,646 one-off payments of £106 totalling £174,476 to eligible people on low incomes to help them with their winter fuel bills. 

The ‘Worrying About Money Guide’ covers information for people waiting for claims to be assessed as well as those already receiving benefits. Topics including advice on what to do if anyone finds themselves having a sudden loss of income or if their statutory sick pay does not cover their living expenses. There is also information on how to apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund, maximising income and benefit advice, debt advice and how to challenge a decision. 

The Worrying About Money Guide is available on the Highland Council website at: 

The 2023/24 Inverness Winter Payment Scheme is now closed. The 2024/25 scheme will open for new applications on 1 December 2024 and closes on 31st March 2025. 

27 May 2024