How can I get help with heating costs?
If you live with a lung condition like bronchiectasis, COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, you’ll know how important it is to stay warm in the winter. Help with your heating costs is available.
You may be entitled to benefits if you:
- have care or mobility needs because of your lung condition
- cannot work due to your lung condition
- are thinking of giving up work because of your lung condition
- care for someone with a lung condition
Having a lung condition doesn’t entitle you to welfare benefits. Benefits depend on how your lung condition affects your care or mobility needs, or your ability to work.
If you’re unsure what you’re entitled to and want to talk to someone, please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.
Winter Fuel payments
A Winter Fuel payment is a tax-free payment for people born on or before 5 April 1954 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.
Cold weather payments
This is only paid when the temperature in your area falls to zero degrees Celsius or below for a period of seven days between 1 November and 31 March. These payments are usually made to people on the following income-related benefits:
- Income support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance because you are aged 60 or over
- Income support or Income-based Employment and Support Allowance and have a child under five or are responsible for a disabled child
- Income support if you are long-term sick or disabled
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
Find out more on the gov.uk website.
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.
In 2019-20 winter, you qualified if, on 7 July 2019:
- your supplier is part of the scheme, and
- your name or your partner’s name was on the bill, and
- you were getting the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well) or you’re on a low income
You may also be able to claim this rebate under the broader group rules if you are classed as being in a vulnerable group, for example if you have an illness or disability. Electricity providers will have their own criteria for eligibility under the broader group.
The participating suppliers in this scheme are: Angelic Energy, Atlantic, Boost, Bristol Energy (only if you’re getting the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit), British Gas, Bulb Energy, Citizen Energy, Co-operative energy, Ebico, Economy Energy, EDF Energy, E.ON, First Utility, Flow Energy, GB Energy, Great North Energy, Green Star/Hudson, Liverpool Energy Community Company, Lumo, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Our Power (only if you’re getting the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit), OVO, Powershop, Ram Energy, Robin Hood Energy (only if you’re getting the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit), Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower Southern Electric, Spark Energy, SSE, SWALEC, Utilita, Utility Warehouse, White Rose Energy, Your Energy Sussex.
Call your energy supplier or the Warm Home Discount Helpline on 0800 731 0214 for more information. Lines are open 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
For energy supply and other heating issues, you can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 0506. Calls cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, 3-40p per minute from a mobile.
For energy saving advice in England and Wales go to the Energy saving Trust website, or, if you live in Scotland, call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
Your lung condition may change, so you should review your situation regularly to ensure that you are claiming all that you are entitled to.
Ringing the BLF helpline costs the same as a local call. Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you live in Northern Ireland, for more information please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.