These days money just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to. For those on a fixed income managing your money can be a concern during winter months.

Utility bills can make up a big part of your outgoings in winter and many people are worried about rising fuel costs. So it’s important you are aware of what financial support you may be entitled to.

Winter Fuel Payments

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 July 1952. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you qualify but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim. Any money you get won’t affect your other benefits.

Cold Weather Payments

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re receiving certain benefits. Payments are made when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of 0°C or below over seven consecutive days. You’ll get a payment of £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

The 2015 to 2016 Cold Weather Payment scheme will start on 1 November 2015. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment in November 2015.

Warm Home Discount

For winter 2015 to 2016, you could get a £140 discount on your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment. Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme 

Other financial support available

Many older people in the UK don’t claim the benefits they are entitled to. More than £5 billion goes unclaimed each year by older people.

There is a range of financial support available to help pay for housing costs such as rent, fees and other charges.

Anchor’s benefit entitlement calculator can help you find out what benefits are available and how to claim them. Find out more here www.anchor.org.uk/money-management-tools

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Age UK office for a benefits check and further advice on other financial support you may be eligible for.

Go to http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/benefits_e.htm for more information.

Download our free Getting ready for winter guide (1.12MB)