Warm Home Discount and other winter financial support
Energy bills can make up a large part of your outgoings in winter. It’s important you are aware of what financial support you may be entitled to.
The Warm Home Discount is a one-off £150 payment applied to eligible customers’ electricity bills, sometime between October and April. It has been designed to help reduce costs for those living on a low income or pension over the winter months.
Not all suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme, so you should bear this in mind if considering switching supplier.
How much could I get?
Everyone who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount scheme will receive a £150 contribution towards their energy bills over the winter period. This is paid through a credit to your electricity account or a prepayment voucher and paid between October and April.
Am I eligible?
All those receiving Pension Credit Guarantee are automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount.
If you are instead in receipt of another means tested benefit such as Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Job Seekers or Employment and Support Allowance you may be eligible and will be contacted each winter if you are eligible to receive the discount.
For more information on the Warm Home Discount see the government website which is updated annually.
Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment to help with heating costs. Most payments are made between November and December.
How much could I get?
In the financial year April 2020 to March 2021 the payment is:
- £200 if you’re under 80
- £300 if you’re over 80.
However, you’ll usually get less if you live with other people who also qualify.
Am I eligible to claim Winter Fuel Payment?
You may be eligible for Winter Fuel Payment if you meet all the following criteria:
- you were born on or before 5th October 1954.
- you lived in the UK throughout the qualifying week (for the financial year 2019–2020, this is 21–27 September 2020)
You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you receive the State Pension or another benefit, such as Pension Credit.
If you only receive Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support or Universal Credit) you may qualify but you’ll need to make a claim.
How can I claim Winter Fuel Payment?
If this is the first year you can claim, or if you’ve never claimed before, call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160. You'll need to know your National Insurance number and your bank or building society details.
You only need to claim once. After this, you should automatically receive a payment every year, as long as your circumstances don’t change.
Cold Weather Payment is extra money for people receiving certain benefits, such as Pension Credit, when there's very cold weather.
How much is a Cold Weather Payment?
You get £25 a week for each 7 day period of cold weather. This only applies between 1 November and 31 March each year.
Cold weather is defined by the Met Office as being when the average temperature has been‚ or is expected to be‚ 0°C or below for 7 days in a row. The Met Office use specific weather stations that forecast and record temperatures.
Am I eligible for the Cold Weather Payment?
The average temperature in your area needs to have been 0˚C or less for seven consecutive days. You can check your area’s temperature by using the DWP’s cold weather payment postcode checker. You also need to be receiving certain benefits, such as one of the following:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit.
How can I claim a Cold Weather Payment?
If you’re eligible for a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid automatically after each 7 day period of cold weather. You should receive your payment within 14 working days.
Contact your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office if you think you should have received a Cold Weather Payment but didn't. If you receive Universal Credit, contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 9344.
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone - you don't have to be a customer:
- British Gas Energy Trust
There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers:
- npower Energy Fund
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- Ovo Debt and energy assistance
- E.on Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund
- Bulb Energy Fund
When you apply for a grant, you'll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member. You can also talk to an adviser for help filling in forms.
Before you apply
Charitable trusts like you to show that you have received debt advice before you apply. Debt advice can help you manage your debts and increase your chances of making a successful application.
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.
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.
Visit the Citizens Advice website for more information.
Some energy companies also have trust funds that can applied for. These sometimes clear debt or offer a debt matching service, where the energy company will match any payments that you make.
Anchor's Be Wise services
Be Wise services
Our Be Wise services offer free and confidential advice to all Anchor residents and colleagues on a range of topics to make the most of your money.
Insurance Wise promotes a bespoke contents insurance policy that Anchor has arranged with Aviva Insurance Limited for residents living with us.