Explained: Warm Home Discount and winter payments

Low income? On benefits? Make sure you get your full entitlement of financial help this winter.

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Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount gives you £140 off your electricity bill between October and April.

You’ll qualify for the discount if, as of July 10 2016, your name or your partner’s name was on your electricity bill, you were receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, and your electricity supplier is listed here.

If you qualify, you’ll get a letter in the autumn or winter, telling you you’ll either get the discount automatically or have to apply by 28 February 2017.

If you think you qualify but don’t get the letter, you can call the Warm Home Discount Scheme on 0345 603 9430, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

Alternatively, you can write to: Warm Home Discount Team, 2.1.P, Peel Park, Brunel Way, Blackpool FY4 5ES.

The Warm Home Discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

If you don’t qualify for the Warm Home Discount because you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier – there’ll be a number to call on your bill or on its website.

Winter Fuel Payment

This tax-free cash payment of between £100 and £300 can help you to pay your heating bills if you were born on or before May 5, 1953.
Payments go out automatically between November and December and should be in your account by Christmas.

You should get the payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit, such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit.

The exact amount you’ll receive depends on your personal circumstances during the qualifying week beginning September 19, 2016. You can see how much you’ll be entitled to here.

A letter in the post will tell you how much you can expect and when it’s likely to arrive. If you qualify but you’re not receiving any social security benefits, you’ll need to apply.

For more information on how to apply, follow this link.

Cold Weather Payment

When temperatures really drop, some people are entitled to a special Cold Weather Payment of £25 for every week of very cold weather between November and the end of March.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days.

You’re eligible for Cold Weather Payment if you receive one of the following benefits: Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

For more information on eligibility, click here.

The payment will come within 14 working days of a cold spell and is paid into the same account your other benefits go into.

There are other things to look out for if you have a baby or a child under the age of five comes to stay with you, detailed here, and also if you have to go into hospital, as described here.

Finally, if you think you should have received a Cold Weather Payment but haven’t, tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office.

Switch & save

The quickest and most effective way to make deep savings on your energy spending is by shopping around and switching your energy deal.

You can start here– and you should be on your way to a cheaper deal within 10 minutes, with the switch fully complete in 21 days.

There’s no need for any work to be done at your property, inside or out, and there’ll be no interruption to your supply. But you could save hundreds on your annual energy bill*.

*51% of customers could save up to £359. MoneySuperMarket data, May 2016.

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