No one really worries about their energy bills during the summer. Every year however, people seem shocked by the cost of heating their home over the winter, and often have difficulty budgeting for it. Fortunately, there is support available to help you stay warm throughout the cold season. In this blog, I outline some of the main grants available, including eligibility and how to apply.
The Warm Home Discount
This is a UK government scheme created several years ago to help people manage for the extra costs associated with heating their home during the winter. It is managed by your energy suppliers, although not all suppliers are obligated to offer it, only those with over 250,000 customers.
The Warm Home Discount is worth £140 which is usually added onto your electricity bill. If you’re on a prepayment meter, you’ll get a voucher which you can use to top up your meter key with the credit. If you’re eligible, your supplier should credit your account between October 2016 and May 2017. Eligibility is divided between the Core Group and the Broader Group.
The Core group is made up of those who receive Pension Credit. If this is you, the credit will be automatically added to your energy bill.
If you don’t receive it, firstly check that your supplier offers it, and that your name and address are the same for your energy company as they are with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The broader group criteria differ between suppliers, however for most you should be eligible if you’re on a qualifying benefit such as Universal Credit, or any of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit. You may also be eligible if your annual household income is below around £16,000.
How to apply
Each supplier has a limited pot of money set aside for the scheme, it is distributed on a first come, first served basis. You can apply by either contacting your supplier by phone, or some suppliers have applications available on their websites.
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, or need help applying, book a home visit with a Cosy Kingdom energy advisor.
Cold Weather Payments
A cold weather payment of £25 is made automatically to those on certain benefits, if the temperature in the area in which they live drops below 0°C for 7 consecutive days.
You are only eligible for a cold weather payment between 1st November and 31st March each year.
Qualifying benefits include Pension Credit and Universal Credit, or benefits being replaced by Universal Credit such as Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Income Support.
Winter Fuel Payments
The Winter Fuel Payment is a UK government payment of between £100 and £300 which is there to help with your energy bills. A Winter Fuel Payment is automatically paid to those who receive a state pension, the payment is made automatically before Christmas each year.
For the 2016/2017 financial year, to receive the payment you need to have been born before 5th May 1953. If you’ve claimed before you shouldn’t need to do anything. If you’ve never claimed, but are eligible, you can find out how to by visiting the Government website.
If you find your home is hard to heat and you worry about your fuel bills during the winter, Cosy Kingdom is here to help. We offer free and impartial energy advice in the comfort of your own home. If you think you may be eligible for any of the benefits mentioned here and aren’t yet claiming them, we offer free benefit checks too.