What benefits can I get to help with heating costs?
We've had a pretty cold winter, and it seems that the UK's weather is edging towards even colder conditions. So, for many people, it's important to know how you can reduce your bills when trying to stay warm.
You might have heard about the Winter Fuel Payment which is paid to older people to help with their heating bills, but you might not know about all the other benefits that you can also claim. Here we will look at them all, and indicate who can apply for them.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax free payment of between £100 and £300 to help you pay your winter fuel bills. To qualify to receive it this year, you must have been born on or before 5th January 1952. Normally you'll receive the money during November and December.
|Circumstance||Born on or before 5th Jan 1952||Aged 80 or over|
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and get one of the benefits listed*||£200||£300|
|You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£100||£200|
|You live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies||£100||£150|
*Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support
The benefit is usually paid automatically to those on a State Pension. The payment is tax free and doesn’t affect other benefits. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/overview
Warm Home Discount scheme
If you are 75 or over and your Pension Credit includes the Guarantee Credit element or you are under 75 and you receive the Guarantee Credit but you don’t receive the Savings Credit, then you qualify for the Warm Home Discount. This is a £135 discount on your winter electricity bill.
If you qualify, then you should have received a letter telling you how to apply. If you believe that you qualify and haven’t received a letter then you should contact the helpline on 0845 603 9439. To check your eligibility, visit this link.
Cold Weather Payment
If the weather is considered to be cold, meaning that the temperature is forecast to be or recorded as 0 degrees for 7 days consecutively, then you may be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.
The amount paid is £25 for each period of cold weather from the beginning of November through to the end of March. In order to qualify you need to be receiving at least one of the following benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
The benefit is paid automatically. To check your eligibility, go to the Cold Weather Payment website.
The Green Deal
The Green Deal provides help if you make home energy saving improvements such as insulation, heating, double glazing, draught proofing or renewable energy.
The scheme will loan you money to pay for the improvements and you repay the loan out of the money that you save on your energy bills. The loan repayments are added to your energy bills.
The Green Deal applies to individuals and businesses. For more information and eligibility, check out this link.
Energy Company Obligation
If you receive certain benefits, then you might be eligible for part or all of the cost of energy saving home improvements from your energy supplier. This will help you pay for items such as insulation and repairs to, or replacement of, your boiler.
To find out if you qualify, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or visit the website for more information
National Concessionary Fuel Scheme
If you used to be employed by the British Coal Corporation (BCC) or the National Coal Board (NCB) then you could qualify for free solid fuel or receive a cash allowance.
The scheme also covers widows and widowers of ex-employees. For eligibility, please check the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme website.
Renewable Heat Premium Payment
The Renewable Heat Premium Payment is a grant towards installing a renewable energy source for your home. The grant is between £600 and £2,000 depending on the kind of heating system.
In order to qualify for a Renewable Heat Premium Payment your property or the property that you rent must already have basic energy saving measures such as insulation.
You will need a Green Deal assessment and the product and installer must both be approved under the scheme. For more information visit the Gov UK website.
There is a similar scheme for businesses which is called the Renewable Heat Incentive – more information here.
If you need guidance or help with dealing with benefits, find your local QualitySolicitors firm here.