Feeling the chill? Check if you're eligible for winter fuel help incl £140 warm home discount
Temperatures are plunging, the heating's set higher – but you could qualify to get £100s off your energy bill this winter.
You'll need to find out if you're eligible soon, though – as the deadline for checking if you can get help with your fuel bills this winter is the end of February.
Some will receive payments automatically, others may need to apply for a rebate.
There are three types of payment: the warm home discount, the cold weather payment and the winter fuel payment. Here's how to find out if you're eligible.
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Can I get the warm home discount?
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme requires big suppliers, by law, to help vulnerable customers in the UK pay for energy. If you're eligible you get a one-off payment of £140 sent directly to your supplier, and it will take that off your bill.
If you're eligible for the payment and you use a prepay meter, you'll normally receive a voucher from your supplier. The discount is applied to your energy bill usually between October and March.
There are two main groups that can qualify to receive the discount: those who receive the pension credit benefit and those on a low income who meet their supplier's criteria.
If you receive pension credit and the following applied to you on 8 July 2018, you should automatically receive the discount:
- Your supplier was part of the WHD scheme.
- You were getting the 'guarantee credit' element of pension credit (even if you get the 'savings credit' element as well).
- Your name, or your partner's name, was on your electricity bill.
If these apply to you, you should have received a letter before 7 December 2018 confirming that you're eligible for the automatic discount.
Otherwise, if you're on a low income and you receive certain benefits you may be able to apply directly to your energy supplier to get the discount. Click here for full criteria.
Beware that not all suppliers are part of the Warm Home Discount scheme. Check the Government’s Warm Home Discount scheme info to find out if yours is taking part.
If you didn't get a letter and you believe you're eligible, contact the Warm Home Discount team on 0800 731 0214 by Thursday 28 February.
How about the cold weather payment?
The cold weather payment is a separate grant which the Government pays to older people and those claiming certain benefits, to help cover costs when thermometers hit zero in their area.
The payment applies if the average temperature is – or is forecast to be – 0°C or below for seven days in a row between 1 November 2018 and 31 March 2019.
If eligible for the payment, you'll receive £25 for every seven consecutive days of cold weather. This money is paid automatically into the same account that your benefits are paid into, within 14 working days of each seven-day cold spell.
You qualify for the payment if you receive pension credit. If you don't, you can still be eligible if you receive any of the benefits listed below and you live with a child who is disabled or under five or you get a disability or pension premium:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Universal credit
You're excluded if you're employed or self-employed. Check with your Jobcentre or pension centre if you don't receive the payment and you believe that you qualify for it.
Do I qualify for the winter fuel payment?
If you were born on or before 5 November 1953 and you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 17 to 23 September 2018, then regardless of income, you can grab a one-off, tax-free winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 from the Government.
If that applies to you, you should have received the payment before Christmas. It doesn't affect any other benefits you receive – but how much you'll be paid will depend on your circumstances.
If you hadn't received a payment by 14 January and you believe that you're eligible, call the office that pays your benefits – its details will be on any letters it has sent you.
You should get the payment automatically if you receive the state pension or other social security benefits including pension credit, jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance. How much you'll get depends on what benefits you receive.
If you've not had the payment before and don't get benefits or a state pension, or only get housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit, you'll have to apply for it by calling 0800 731 0160 or emailing via this online form.
It's available to all in the UK, so if any of the following circumstances applied to you between 17 and 23 September 2018, here's what you'll get for winter 2018/19:
Winter fuel payments – how much could you get in 2018/19?
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£100||£200|
|You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies||£100||£150|
|You qualify, live in a care home, but don't get a benefit that's listed above||£100||£150|