Find out if you or the person you care for is entitled to help with household finances, such as discounts and exemptions from Council Tax, utility bills and leisure activities.
Winter Fuel Payments
You will need to apply for your first Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 5th January 1951. If you meet the qualifying age but don’t yet get a State Pension, or receive another Social Security benefit, you need to complete a claim form. Even if you are working, you could get help towards your fuel bill. Claim forms must be received on or before 30th March 2012. Call the Winter Fuel Helpline on 0845 9 15 15 15 for a claim form or to check your eligibility.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount scheme aims to help low-income and vulnerable households with energy costs. Participating energy suppliers include British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Southern Electric.
Participating energy suppliers are required to give a discount on their electricity bill to a specified group of their older customers on low incomes, known as the Core Group.
For winter 2012/13 discount, you may qualify for this energy discount if on 21st July 2012 (the qualifying date) you are either:
- aged under 80 and receiving only the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (no Savings Credit)
- aged 80 or over and receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, (even if you get Savings Credit as well); and
- you or your partner are named on the electricity bill.
The next energy discounts will be made in winter 2012/13. If you qualify you’ll receive a confirmation letter from the government in winter 2012/13.
If you qualify but a rebate can’t be made automatically, you’ll receive a letter asking you to provide further information that is available on your electricity bill. Discounts for the previous year were £120.
There is also support for low income and vulnerable households, known as the Broader Group. Customers who may be eligible include those on a low income with a disability, long term illness or those with young children, but the actual criteria used will vary according to the supplier – please note that participating suppliers may differ from the group mentioned above. A discount of £130 will be issued to eligible households. Schemes are now starting to open for 2012/13.
Contact your electricity supplier to find out if they are participating in this scheme and their eligibility criteria.
Big Heat Scheme
CAB Leaflet – download below:
Priority Service register
Energy providers are required to keep a priority service register for elderly or disabled customers. You can contact your supplier and ask to be put on this register. You’ll then be entitled to some services free of charge, including:
- free annual gas safety checks
- bills in different formats, such as large print and Braille
- quarterly meter reading services
- priority in an emergency
Fuel Direct – this is a system that allows people on certain benefits to have money deducted from their benefit and paid directly to gas or electricity suppliers. You will be allowed to do this if you’re receiving Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-based Employment and Support Allowance.
A sum of £3.25 a week can be deducted from your benefit to pay off the arrears, as well as a further amount for your current costs. In some cases, the deduction can be made without your consent but there’s a maximum amount that can be deducted from your benefit.