Welsh households on universal credit and other benefits to get £100 towards energy bills
Universal credit claimants and those in receipt of certain means-tested benefits will get £100 towards their energy bills this winter, the Welsh Government has announced. It comes as part of a new £51 million support package designed to help around 350,000 people with the cost of living.
Update: Tuesday 15 February 2022: The Welsh Government has this week doubled 'Winter Fuel Support Scheme' payments with eligible households now able to get £200 to put towards the cost of heating their home - up from the previous £100.
- If you've already applied and received £100, you will automatically receive another payment of £100 in due course.
- If you haven't yet applied for the scheme, you have until 28 February 2022 to do so. Apply from now, and you'll receive the full £200 payment. Eligibility criteria and the application process detailed below still stand.
It has also been confirmed that the scheme will return again next winter.
Jane Hutt, the Welsh minister for social justice, says £38 million will be made available through a new 'Winter Fuel Support Scheme', which despite its name, is separate to the existing 'Winter Fuel Payments' scheme for those over the state pension age.
Under the new initiative, eligible households will get a one-off £100 cash payment to put towards the cost of heating their homes. The Welsh Government says it's introducing the support to deter individuals from using high-cost lenders or loan sharks to make ends meet.
Below we explain who can get the £100, but for further support with your energy bills - or if you live outside of Wales - see our Housing & energy grants guide.
Check if you're eligible for the Welsh Winter Fuel Support Scheme
The Welsh scheme is open to households where one member is in receipt of one or more of the following welfare benefits between 1 December 2021 and 31 January 2022:
- Employment and support allowance
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income support
- Universal credit
- Working tax credits
You must also be responsible for paying the energy bills for the property.
Your local authority will contact you to arrange payment but you can also submit a claim
Local authorities will write to households who they believe fit the eligibility criteria. However, if you qualify you can also submit a claim yourself via your local authority. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, the £100 will be paid directly into your bank account. The money can be used by both those on prepayment and standard credit meters.
We've asked the Welsh Government if individuals can spend the £100 on something other than energy and we'll update this story when we know more.
Exact payment dates yet to be confirmed
The Welsh Government is yet to confirm exactly when payments will be made, when applications will open or when households will be contacted. It has, however, said that the £100 will not impact your ability to claim other support or benefits, and it also won't affect any pending benefit payments.
If you're struggling to pay energy bills this winter - check for available help
The Northern Irish and UK Governments have both confirmed they have no plans to launch any new energy specific support schemes. We've asked the Scottish Government if it plans to introduce similar measures this winter to help households with rocketing energy bills, and we'll update this story when we hear back.
However, in the meantime, there are various existing schemes available to help households across the UK with their energy bills. Here are some examples (note that you can continue to claim these benefits on top of the Welsh Government's new Winter Fuel Support Scheme):
- Cold Weather Payments. Households can get a £25 payment for every seven days of freezing weather.
- Warm Home Discount. Households on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits may be able to get £140 off their energy bill. Some will need to apply for the discount directly from their energy provider, while others are automatically eligible.
- Winter Fuel Payments. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help pay your heating bills. You'll get the payment automatically if you get the state pension or another social security benefit (not housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit).
If you need support with your energy bills it's worth checking out our Grant Grabbing guide, which details the firms that offer help when you're in debt. You may also want to read our Free Debt Advice guide and use our Benefits Calculator to make sure you're getting everything you're eligible for.
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