Winter can be an expensive time of year, especially if you are a retired pensioner or are living on a low income.
Not only will you spend more on gas to have your boiler heat your home, but you’ll probably spend more on electricity too as the days get shorter and you need to have the lights on for longer.
If you’re worried about meeting the cost of these extra expenses, then perhaps you will find the following information useful as we take a brief look at the various government schemes available to help with your winter fuel costs.
Winter Fuel Payments
The first of the benefits we want to highlight is the Winter Fuel Payment of up to £300. Winter Fuel Payments are available to all those who were born on or before the 5th of May 1953.
The benefit is not means tested, so you will be eligible to receive it regardless of your income. The total amount you will receive will depend upon your age and circumstances.
Those who are over 80 years old will receive more, for example, but you will receive less if you live with another person who qualifies for the benefit, or if you live in a care home.
If you are in receipt of certain benefits, then you might qualify automatically for the payment. If you don’t qualify automatically then you will need to make a claim.
For more information on qualifying benefits, how much you’re entitled to and how to make a claim, see the Winter Fuel Payment section on the government’s own website.
Warm Home Discount
Another scheme specifically put in place for pensioners is the Warm Home Discount Scheme. If you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit on the 10th of July 2016, then you might be eligible for an automatic £140 rebate on your electricity bill.
The rebate will be paid in the months between October and April and it will come in the form of a one-off payment. The only catch here is that some of the smaller energy firms out there may not be signed up to the scheme, so you’ll need to check whether your electricity supplier is signed up or not.
Prepaid or pay-as-you-go meter customers will not receive the payment automatically, but they can still apply for it.
Cold Weather Payments
There’s also help available for those who are not of pensionable age by means of the Cold Weather Payment.
If you are in receipt of certain benefits such as Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, then you will receive a payment of £25 if the average temperature in your area is forecast or recorded at zero degrees Celsius or below for 7 days consecutively.
The dates for this year’s scheme run between 1 November and 31 March and you don’t need to apply for the payment, as it will be made automatically if you are on a qualifying benefit.