With a chilly few days ahead of us as winter marches on, many of us will be reaching for the thermostat, turning the heating up a few degrees to keep things cosy.
The cost of home energy has risen hugely in recent months, and I know from speaking to people in Newport East and from my inbox that there are many people budgeting their heating right now; only using it when necessary or having to make decisions between things to afford to pop on the fire or the central heating.
If you’re finding it hard to keep warm and you’re on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits, there may be some help available to you.
Read on to find out more.
The Warm Home Discount
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit– known as the ‘core group’
- you’re on a low incomeand meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the ‘broader group’
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount and you can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
To find out more, click here
The Winter Fuel Support Scheme*
As part of support package of over £50m to address immediate pressures on living costs, Welsh Government has made available over £38 million through a Winter Fuel Support Scheme.
The scheme will provide a one-off £200 cash payment to one working age household member responsible for utility bills.
The payment will be available to all eligible households regardless of whether they pay for their on-grid fuel on a pre-payment meter, by direct debit or by paying a bill quarterly.
You must be in receipt of a certain welfare benefit at any time between 1st December 2021 and 31st January 2022.
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Based Employment & Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
Applications are open until midnight on 18 February 2022.
Find out more here
The Energy Hardship Fund
If you’re a Social Housing/Housing Association tenant, you may be able to receive help from the Energy Hardship Fund. PayPoint fuel vouchers of £28 and £49 are funded from donations to the trust.
To find out more, contact your Housing Association or Social Landlord.
Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF)
If you are experiencing extreme financial hardship, you might also wish to make a claim to the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
Find out more here
The Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to make a claim.
If you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension or moved abroad.
Find out more here
Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Check if you can get a payment in your area.
*(This post was updated on 03.02.22 to reflect the increase in this support from £100 to £200).