How can I get help with heating costs?
If you live with a lung condition, you’ll know how important it is to stay warm in the winter. The good news is, help with your heating costs may be available.
This year, the government is also introducing an Energy Bills Rebate. This is to help people to pay for their electricity bills.
Winter Fuel payments
A Winter Fuel payment is a tax-free payment for people born on or before 26 September 1955 to help pay heating costs. It is usually paid automatically every year between November and December. If you don’t receive this automatically and are eligible, you can make a claim on the gov.uk website. Winter fuel payments do not depend on how cold the weather gets.
The deadline for you to make a claim for winter 2021-2022 is 31 March 2022.
Cold weather payments
Cold weather payments are only paid when the average temperature in your area falls to zero degrees Celsius or below for a period of seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March. These payments are usually made to people on the following income-related benefits:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
Help with heating in Wales
If you are eligible, the Nest scheme may be able to offer you free home energy efficiency improvements. This could include a new boiler, central heating, or insulation.
You could be eligible for free home energy efficiency improvements if you meet the following conditions:
- You own or privately rent your home
- Your home is expensive to heat and energy inefficient
- You or someone you live with receives a means tested benefit, or has a chronic respiratory, circulatory, or mental health condition and an income below the threshold.
Find out more about if you’re eligible for the Nest scheme in Wales.
Help with heating in Scotland
The Scottish government has support for you if you have difficulty paying your fuel bills or keeping your home warm. Find out more:
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme (WHD) is run with electricity providers and gives a one-off discount on your winter electricity bill. If you qualify for the discount, you’ll get a letter in the autumn or winter. Find out more about WHD on the gov.uk website.
There are two ways to qualify for the WHD:
- as part of the ‘core group’, or
- as part of the ‘broader group’.
You may be eligible for the core group Warm Home Discount Scheme if:
- your supplier is part of the scheme, and
- your name or your partner’s name was on the bill, and
- you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well) or you’re on a low income.
If you qualify, you’ll get a letter between October and December 2021 telling you how to claim the discount. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31 March 2022.
If you don’t get a letter, but think you qualify for the WHD as part of the core group, contact the Warm Discount helpline on 0800 731 0214. Lines are open 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday.
You might be able to claim the WHD as part of the broader group if you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
You might be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you’re not part of the core group, but:
- you’re on a low income
- you get certain means-tested benefits
- your energy supplier is part of the scheme.
Your electricity supplier decides who can get the discount. Get in touch with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.
For more information about the WHD and other benefits that can help you pay your energy bills this winter, go to the Citizen’s Advice website.
For advice on saving energy in your home go to the Energy Saving Trust website.
Your lung condition may change, so you should review your situation regularly to ensure that you are claiming everything that you are entitled to.
Give us a call on 0300 222 5800 for general advice on welfare benefits.