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Welfare benefits when living with a lung condition

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. 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 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.

The deadline to claim for winter 2020/2021 is 31 March 2021.

Cold weather payments

Cold weather payments are 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

Check to see if your area is due a payment and find out more about cold weather payments 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.

There are two ways to qualify for the WHD:

  • as part of the ‘core group’, or
  • as part of the ‘broader group’.

Core group

In 2020-21 winter, you qualified as part of the core group if, on 5 July 2020:

If you qualify, you’ll get a letter between October and December 2020 telling you how to claim the discount. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31 March 2021.

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 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Broader group

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:

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 you’re claiming everything you're entitled to.

Give us a call on 03000 030 555 for general advice on welfare benefits.

Download our welfare benefits information (PDF, 119KB)

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: December 2020. Due for review: December 2021

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.