Mr Durkan said that a retrospective payment won’t help thousands of families in fuel poverty this Winter.
Said the Foyle MLA: “The Covid-19 crisis has had a profound impact on people and families across the North.
“Many have lost their jobs and many more have had their incomes reduced on furlough.
“The COVID-19 heating payment is an important measure to help those struggling to make ends meet, particularly given that so many of us are using extra heat while working from home or isolating.
“After this Winter, pensioners have had to wait in the cold as the roll out of the winter fuel payment was painstakingly slow.
“It is unacceptable that the covid-19 payment does not appear to be coming any faster.”
“It is unbelievable that the Communities Minister will not be making any payments until the end of January, at the earliest.
“That will be cold comfort to the thousands of families choosing to turn off the heat to save money this week and every week during the winter period. It is an absolute farce.
“The Communities Minister should urgently review this decision and get the payments out to those who need them as soon as possible.
“We are rightly asking people to stay at home to save lives.
“We should be providing the most vulnerable with some financial support to allow them to keep warm,” added Mr Durkan.