Welfare benefits

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.

Winter Fuel payments

A Winter Fuel payment is a tax-free payment for people born on or before 5 January 1953 to help pay heating costs. It is 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 7 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 5 or are responsible for a disabled child
  • Income Support if you are long-term sick or disabled
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

You can find out more about the cold weather criteria 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.

In 2018-19 winter, you qualified if, on 8 July 2018:

  • 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 visit 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. 

If you need more information about how any of the benefits work you can call our helpline on 03000 030 555. Ringing our helpline never costs more than a local call and is sometimes free, depending on your call package, even from a mobile. Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

We'll take good care of your personal info and you can update the way we contact you at any time - check out our privacy policy at blf.org.uk/privacy to find out more.

Download our welfare information (PDF, 509KB)

Last medically reviewed: December 2018. Due for review: December 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.