Housing & energy grants

Find free cash for your home

There's lots of financial help available right now due to the cost of living crisis, as well as ongoing support for those on benefits. There's cash available to increase your home's energy efficiency or help you pay your energy bills – hundreds of millions of pounds of it. The key is knowing where to look.

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The main energy grants & freebies

Energy is one of the main grant-giving areas, as substantial Government funding is available to help those struggling to heat their home, particularly right now due to record energy prices.

All households in the UK are getting £100s in support, after the Government announced a new cost of living support package, and some of these payments will also be made available in 2023/24. We've a summary of the help available, with full info on each of the schemes below...

What's available and how to get it

What's available How much can I get? Who can get it Do I need to apply? When is it paid?
Cost of living support £900

Those in receipt of certain means-tested benefits (excludes Northern Ireland)

No – it's paid automatically. If you haven't received it but think you should, you can report a missing payment.

£301 by 17 May 2023

£300 by 19 Nov 2023
 

£299 by 22 February 2024

Disability cost of living support

£150 Those in receipt of certain disability benefits (excludes Northern Ireland)

No – it's paid automatically. If you haven't received it but think you should, you can report a missing payment. Between 20 June and 4 July 2023
Child winter heating payment £235.70 Scottish children under 19 who get certain disability benefits No – it's paid automatically

November or December 2023
Winter fuel payment Up to £600 Every household with someone born before 25 September 1957 Some will need to apply November or December 2023
Cold weather payment £25 for each sub-zero week People in England and Wales who get pension credit and don't live in a care home and some on certain benefits No – it's paid automatically Between November and March, within 14 days of each cold weather period
Winter heating payment £55.05 400,000 low-income households in Scotland No – it's paid automatically December 2023 and January 2024
Warm home discount £150 Those in receipt of certain means-tested benefits (excludes Northern Ireland) Some will need to apply By 31 March 2024
  1. Cost of living and energy support payments

    • Those on certain means-tested benefits get £900. To qualify, you need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit. This was paid in three instalments: the first of £301 was paid between 25 April and 17 May 2023, the second of £300 was paid between 31 October and 19 November 2023, and the final payment of £299 was paid between 6 and 22 February 2024 – see full cost of living payment info. The Government has launched an online portal for those who haven't received the payment(s), but think they're entitled to.

    • An extra £150 for those on disability benefits. Those on qualifying disability benefits should have received the £150 between 20 June and 4 July 2023. An online portal launched on 5 July for those who think they should have got the payment but haven't. See full details of who qualifies

    • Scottish child winter heating payment of £235.70. It's a one-off annual payment given by the Scottish Government to help disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter. If you're under 19 and got one of the 'qualifying benefits' between 18 and 24 September 2023, you'll automatically get £235.70. It's awarded per child, not per household, and payments will be made from November 2023.
  2. £150 towards energy bills in winter with the warm home discount

    The Warm Home Discount scheme is available to millions of households in the UK. It requires suppliers with more than 50,000 customers to help vulnerable people pay for their energy over winter.

    If you've a standard credit meter, the money isn't paid to you – it's a £150 rebate applied to your electricity or gas bill between October and March. If you're on a prepay meter, you'll usually be sent a top-up voucher.

    Following changes to how the warm home discount works, the scheme is now different in England and Wales from that in Scotland. In England and Wales, no one needs to apply anymore, it'll be awarded automatically to those on pension credit, and to those on certain benefits who are eligible. In Scotland, some will still need to apply to get it.

    You can check if you're eligible to receive the discount using the Government's new online tool, or see full info on the warm home discount.

  3. Up to £600 winter fuel payment

    Every household with someone born on or before 24 September 1957 is entitled to help towards their winter energy costs.

    Under the Government's Winter Fuel Payment scheme, provided you lived in the UK for at least one day between 18 and 24 September 2023, then regardless of income, you can grab a one-off, tax-free winter fuel payment of between £150 and £300.

    In 2023, the Government topped up the winter fuel payment (if you were eligible), meaning you should get an extra £300 (per household) on top of what you'd normally be entitled to under the scheme. For most, this was paid in November and December 2023.

    You should have received a letter from the Government telling you how much you'll get, based on the following criteria:

    Winter fuel payments – how much could you get in 2023/24?

    If between 18 and 24 September 2023 you: Born between 25 Sep 1943 and 24 Sep 1957 Born on or before 24 Sep 1943
    Lived alone (or none of the people you lived qualify). £500 £600
    Lived with someone under 80 who also qualifies. £250 £350
    Lived with someone 80 or over who also qualifies.

    £250

    £300
    Lived in a care home but didn't receive pension credit, income support, jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance. £250 £300

    These amounts include the 'Pensioner Cost of Living Payment', a £300 top-up payment available this winter.

    • How is the winter fuel payment paid?

      If you're on the state pension or in receipt of another social security benefit, such as pension credit or income-related employment and support allowance, then you should receive it automatically, paid in the same way as the other benefit you receive. See the full eligibility criteria.

      If you've not had the winter fuel payment before and don't get benefits or a state pension, or only get universal credit, housing benefit, council tax reduction or child benefit, then you'll need to claim it. You can either apply by post or by calling the helpline on 0800 731 0160.

    • When is it paid?

      You should have received a letter with your estimated payment date, though all payments should have been made in November and December.

  4. Cold weather payments of £25 for each sub-zero week

    The cold weather payment is a separate grant paid by the Government to older people and those on certain benefits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to help cover energy costs when temperatures hit zero and below in your area.

    It applies if the average temperature is – or is forecast to be – 0°C or below for seven days in a row between 1 November and 31 March. You get £25 for each seven-day period and it's paid automatically within 14 days of each cold weather period. See our full Cold weather payment guide for more info.

    In Scotland, you'll get the £55 winter heating payment instead

    400,000 low-income households in Scotland will receive £55.05 a year to help towards winter heating costs, whatever the weather. This replaces the cold weather payment for those in Scotland, though eligibility for the schemes are the same. Payments will be made in December 2023 and January 2024. See our Cold weather guide for more details.

  5. Household support fund for those who are vulnerable this winter

    Local councils in England have access to £1 billion in funding between April 2023 and March 2024 to help vulnerable households under the Household Support Fund. There's no set criteria for eligibility, as it's up to each council to decide, but generally the grant is those in most need of financial help.

    You can contact your council to find out what it offers, whether you're eligible for help, and how to apply.

    For other local council funds available, see our 

The top home help schemes and grants

There's even more help available, depending on your circumstances.

  1. Schemes and grants for improving energy efficiency in your home

    There are also loads of freebies and grants on offer from energy providers and local authorities to improve your home's energy efficiency, from boilers grants to loft and cavity wall insulation. It's all part of their energy efficiency obligations to people in certain groups. It's mainly for those receiving specific benefits, such as universal credit, tax credits, pension credit or income-based benefits.

    Free insulation and boiler grants

    Most energy suppliers in the UK are part of what's known as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, meaning they're required to help improve households' energy efficiency through boiler grants and insulation measures, such as for cavity walls and lofts. £1,000s of grants are up for grabs, but it's only available to people who get certain benefits.

    Also as part of the scheme, if you live in a property that's heated by electricity, and you're in receipt of benefits, you might be eligible to replace your old electric heaters and radiators with new, energy efficient electric storage heaters for free.

    To check you're eligible and apply, you'll need to contact your energy supplier, or for full info, see our Free insulation and boiler grants guide.

    Boiler upgrade scheme in Great Britain

    If you live in England or Wales and want to replace your existing gas, oil or electric boiler with a heat pump or biomass boiler, you could get £7,500 towards the cost of doing so.

    You should be eligible providing you own the property, though some may need to install insulation before any work is completed on your heating system in order to be eligible (your installer will tell you if you need it).

    You don't need to apply to get the scheme, your chosen installer will apply on your behalf – though make sure you choose an installer certified by the Microgeneration Certification Service (MCS).

    In Scotland, there's a similar scheme, enabling homeowners to apply for a grant of  £7,500 (or up to £9,000 for those living in rural and island homes) to install a heat pump, as well as the option to borrow an interest-free loan for extra funding needed. Find out more from Home Energy Scotland.

    Home upgrade grant in England

    If you're off the main gas grid, on low income and have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating from D to G, you might be eligible for a home upgrade grant (HUG). This could include energy efficiency measures such as wall, loft and underfloor insulation, installation of heat pumps, solar panels, double glazing, low energy lighting and electric storage heaters.

    It's only available to certain postcodes in England, and you need to apply through your local council. Contact your local authority to see if you're eligible and find what's available in your area.

    The Nest scheme in Wales

    The Welsh Government's 'Nest' scheme provides free advice and support to help people in Wales improve the energy efficiency of their home. It also offers free energy efficiency improvements to help reduce your energy bills, such as a new boiler, central heating, insulation, or solar panels. You'll need to be on low income, and in receipt of a means-tested benefit AND have a chronic respiratory, circulatory or mental health condition. See full details and eligibility criteria.

    Warmer Homes Scheme Scotland

    In Scotland, you can apply for a grant of up to £7,500 (or £9,000 if you live in a rural or island area) to help fund energy-efficiency home improvements, including central heating, radiators, heating controls, draught-proofing and insulation. You have to have lived in your property for at least 12 months and be in receipt of certain benefits, or over 75 with no working heating system. More info and how to apply from Warmer Homes Scotland.

    Affordable Warmth Scheme Northern Ireland

    If your annual household income is less than £23,000, you could be eligible for a grant to install a range of improvements, from insulation to heating systems and controls, and even a full conversion from heating oil to gas heating. You can find out more in our Cheap Northern Ireland electricity guide.

  2. Help adapting your home if you're disabled

    A disabled facilities grant is available from your council to help towards the cost of adapting your home if you, or someone living in your property, is disabled.

    You can get up to £30,000 in England, up to £36,000 in Wales and up to £25,000 in Northern Ireland. Disabled facilities grants aren't available in Scotland.

    The grant is for work that is essential to help a disabled person live an independent life. Here's an example...

    I had a disabled facilities grant to remove my bath and put in a level-access shower.

    Contact your council's housing or environmental health department and ask it to send you an application form before you start work. If work begins before the council's approved your application, you won't normally get anything. Find more info on the grant on the Gov.uk website, as well as your council's details.

    In Wales, an additional scheme provided by Care and Repair is the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, which helps with small-scale alterations to your home (such as grab rail instalments). You need to be referred by a health or social services professional, such as an occupational therapist, so speak to your doctor to see if you qualify.

  3. Free fire safety check and alarm from your local fire service

    Many local fire stations offer free home fire risk assessments, to check for potential fire risks and give fire safety advice.

    The check will help you plan what to do if a fire starts in your home and you'll usually be given a free smoke alarm if you don't already have one.

    The scheme's open to anyone, but it's aimed at the elderly, families with young children or any homes which may carry a high fire risk.

    The Chief Fire Officers Association has put together a list of what each brigade offers, and you can find out more about the assessments on the Fire Service website. If your local brigade isn't listed, you could ring it to see what it offers.

  4. Local handyperson service for small repairs

    Age UK runs a local handyperson service in over 80% of the country. This involves security-checked individuals visiting elderly people's homes (though anyone over 50 can apply) to do small repairs, grab rail instalments and security improvements to doors and windows.

    Charges for handyperson services are set at local levels, so call your local Age UK. Costs are around £5 to £25 per hour dependent on the work being undertaken. For info, call Age UK on 0800 678 1602.

  5. Emergency financial support from your local council

    Local councils can provide emergency financial support under the local welfare assistance scheme.

    Support is available for people in short-term crises, for things such as a sudden bereavement, a broken boiler or if you're forced to move out of a rented home.

    However, it's a postcode lottery. Each council can choose whether to offer financial help or not, or who is eligible. For example, some may give furniture or food grants, while others may give cash. Ask your council for more info.

    In Scotland, if you’re on a a low income or getting certain benefits, you may be able to apply for a Crisis Grant (part of the Scottish Welfare Fund) through your local council, to help with food or heating costs.

Help from your utility provider if you're struggling to pay your bill

If you're struggling to pay your energy or water bills, the first thing you should do is contact your provider as soon as possible – all firms offer some kind of help if you're starting to fall behind.

Help with your energy bill

There are a range of options suppliers can offer if you are struggling, including full payment plan reviews, affordable debt repayment plans, payment breaks or reductions, all allowing you more time to pay. Similarly, if you're a prepayment customer, your supplier can offer you emergency credit.

Many suppliers also have hardship funds, and you don't necessarily have to be a customer of the supplier to be able to access it. It's is all done on a case-by-case basis, so contact your supplier as soon as you can if you do start to struggle.

For a full rundown of what's available, see our What to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills guide.

Water suppliers also offer help if you're in arrears 

If you're having trouble paying your water bill and have fallen into debt, contact your water company to see what help it can offer. All companies offer some kind of help – this can be anything from providing repayment plans, discounts or even a cap on how much you pay.

What's available varies from company to company. Don't worry if you're unsure which scheme is best for you. Call your provider and it will assess your circumstances and decide which one will save you the most money. For more information, see if you could get help if you're struggling to pay your water bills.

The Turn2us website also has info on all the water company schemes.

  • On a meter? There are freebies to help you save

    There are also a range of freebies you can get from your water supplier to help you save on your water bill.

    The freebies you get vary by supplier – the water efficiency site Save Water Save Money collates all the best ones up for grabs.

    Examples include flush bags, water widgets, shower timers and water audit leaflets. To see what you can get, plus more details on how the scheme works, go to the full Cut water bills guide.

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