Are you eligible for help with heating costs?

Energy bills can be really expensive, especially during prolonged periods of cold weather when the only way to stay warm is to crank up the heating.

The good news is that, depending on your age and circumstances, you may be eligible to help with your heating costs. Here’s what you need to know.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 5 January 1954 then you may be entitled to a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills and stay warm during winter. The amount of Winter Fuel Payment that you receive will depend on how old you are and who else you live with.

Those who have received payment in previous years should automatically receive it without having to claim again.

If you meet the age and residence criteria and you are already receiving the following benefits, then you should receive winter fuel payment automatically:

  • State Pension
  • Pension Credit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

The easiest way to make a claim for winter fuel payment if you’ve never claimed before is to call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160 (call charges may apply).

Cold Weather Payment

Cold Weather Payments of £25 are made when your local temperature is recorded as (or forecast to be), an average of zero degrees celsius or below for at least seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March every year,

If you are already receiving any other low-income benefits (i.e. Pension Credit) then you should be eligible to receive it – and if you are, you should receive it automatically, so there’s no need to apply.

Warm Homes Discount Scheme

Some people will be able to get £140 of their winter electricity bill for 2019/20.

You may be eligible if you:

  • are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit and electricity supplier is part of the Warm Homes Discount scheme. In this case, you should get £140 automatically deducted from your bill between September and March.
  • are on a low income, already receive certain means-tested benefits and your electricity supplier is part of the then you should be able to get this deduction. Your electricity supplier will be able to give you more details about this.
  • are on a pre-pay or pay as you go electric meter. You will need to speak to your electricity provider to find out how to activate your deduction.

An important note

If you decide to switch electricity suppliers, then it’s important that you make sure your new provider belongs to the Warm Homes Discount Scheme – otherwise your bills may increase.

To check which energy suppliers offer the discount, you can visit Ofgem or GOV.UK.

Insulation and heating schemes

If your home is poorly insulated or doesn’t have a working central heating system, there may be improvements that can be made to your home via insulation and heating schemes to make it more energy efficient. You can use the links below to find out more about schemes that may be available to you: You can also find tips to make your home more energy efficient in our article ‘Save money on your energy bills’

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