Government Energy Schemes
The government has stepped in to help people with their energy bills in various ways, including rebates and awarding grants towards energy efficient repairs on your home. Bill has gathered all of the relevant information below – and don’t worry, Bill’s checked that it’s correct as of March 2021.
Warm Home Discount
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bill, you could be eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme from the government. If you are eligible, and your energy supplier offers the discount (check here), a direct one-off payment of £140 will be credited on your account to help keep your home warm over winter.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme:
- Being part of the “Core Group” – You or your partner receive Guarantee Pension Credit
- You should receive a letter which may ask you to confirm your details between October and December
- The discount will then be automatically applied
- If you do not get a letter by December and think you’re eligible, please contact the Warm Home Discount hotline at 0800 731 0214
- Being part of the “Broader Group” – You are on a low income and get certain means-tested benefits
- You have to apply directly to your supplier every year, with applications typically opening during the summer months.
- Please be aware this scheme is “first-come, first-serve” so it is best to contact your supplier sooner rather than later to make sure your application is entered on time.
- Each supplier also has its own set of criteria to qualify so contacting them directly is the best way to know if you are eligible.
Fuel Direct / Third Party Deductions
If you are on certain benefits, you can use your benefits to pay off your energy debt through this government scheme. The Department of Work and Pensions would take a set amount from your benefits each week to pay both your debt and ongoing costs so that you would not even have to think about it. To apply, you would need to contact Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre.
You can apply for this method of payment if you are on the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
Winter Fuel Payments
If you’re 65 or over, and receiving certain benefits, you may be able to get a payment of between £100 and £300 to help towards heating your home in the winter. For the Winter Fuel Payment, the certain benefits mean you would need to get the State Pension or another social security benefit.
You would qualify if:
- You were born on or before 5th October 1954
- You lived in the UK for one day or more during the ‘qualifying week’ – in 2020, that was 21st-27th September
Usually, if you’re eligible, you get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically. If you’ve never had it before, or have deferred your State Pension, and you believe you’re eligible, you can contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
Telephone: 0800 731 0160 or visit this website.
Cold Weather Payments
In particularly cold spells, when the average temperature in your area drops below zero for seven days in a row, you may be eligible for some help. This payment is available if you claim certain means-tested benefits and only in certain areas – you can check here. If eligible, a £25 payment will be made to you for each seven-day period that the temperature is zero or below, paid into the same bank as your benefits payments.
To see what means-tested benefits you would need – see here.
Typically, if you’re eligible, you do not need to apply – it will be paid automatically. However, if your circumstances change and you have a baby, or a child aged under 5 comes to live with you, please contact Jobcentre Plus and let them know.