Families with severely disabled children received more than £4 million from the Scottish Government’s Child Winter Heating Assistance scheme to heat their homes over winter, new statistics showed.
The benefit, introduced in November 2020, is an automatic payment of £202 for children and young people under the age of 19.
To be eligible, children and young people must receive the highest rate of Child Disability Payment or Disability Living Allowance, or the enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payment.
In total, 19,865 Child Winter Heating Assistance payments were issued over the winter period.
The local authorities with the greatest numbers of payments were Glasgow City with 2,790, North Lanarkshire with 1,635, and Fife, which saw 1,520 payments made.
The Orkney Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar both saw 40 payments made, while a small number of payments were for children with a non-Scottish UK address.
Fifty-five payments were issued for children or young people who were eligible through the Child Disability Payment. The remaining 19,810 payments went to those eligible through either the Disability Living Allowance for Children or Personal Independence Payment.
The new figures mean a total of 38,180 Child Winter Heating Assistance payments have been made since the scheme was introduced.
Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “We used our limited social security powers to create the Child Winter Heating Assistance, one of seven benefits only available in Scotland.
“Last year, for the second time, we were able to help thousands of families of severely disabled children and young people with the additional costs they faced heating their homes over winter.
“This year we have committed to increase Child Winter Heating Assistance payment by 6%, taking the amount people will receive in 2022-23 to £214.10. People do not need to apply for Child Winter Heating Assistance as the payment is made automatically to families.
“We are also introducing the Low Income Winter Heating Assistance in winter 2022/23. This will provide around 400,000 households with a £50 payment.”