Is there government help with energy bills for pensioners
Finance

Is there government help with energy bills for pensioners?

6 min read |

If you’re an older person looking for support this winter, there is government help with energy bills for pensioners available.

During colder months, concerns over energy consumption can become heightened, especially if you’re living alone.

The availability of funding means that you won't have to decide whether or not you can afford to stay warm.

This article will cover the government help with energy bills for pensioners, and offer advice on how to cope with rising costs.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Some pensioners are eligible for benefits that can help cover the cost of heating bills.
  • Winter payment schemes in particular can give you extra financial support when it comes to managing the cost of living. 
  • You can also receive a discount if you’re eligible for the Warm Home scheme, so you can save money on your bills.
  • However, not everyone can claim, so using cost-effective ways to reduce your energy usage can really help.
How can the government help me with my energy bills

How can the government help me with my energy bills?

There are two well-known schemes that the government offers pensioners to cover their energy bills. 

These are the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment. 

However, they are separate schemes and have different criteria, so you’ll need to check your eligibility.

If you are eligible for state benefits, then these government schemes may be a helpful way to get further support.

The Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel payment is a state benefit that can help you pay for your heating bills. 

It applies to those who are of state pension age and looking for extra support during cold weather. 

The amount you receive through this government help with energy bills scheme depends on your age and circumstances.

If you believe you’re eligible and haven’t received a letter, you can contact the Department of Work and Pensions to find out.

Who is eligible?

If you were born before September 25th 1957, you may qualify for this government help with energy bills for pensioners. 

Generally, the winter fuel payment can cover the cost of heating with a payment of between £250 to £600.

However, you won’t get it if you live in a care home, or have been in hospital for more than a year. 

You can contact the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline if you are unsure about eligibility.

Cold Weather Payment

Cold Weather Payment

The Cold Weather Payment is a state benefit you may receive if the temperatures in your area go below zero degrees.

If you live in a very cold area of the UK, these payments can provide weekly support during freezing conditions. 

This type of payment is also more flexible as it takes into account other benefits like universal credit. 

By checking if you can claim, you can feel assured in extreme temperatures that there is help available for heating.

why dementia makes you feel cold

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible if you’re getting other financial benefits for elderly or mortgage interest support. 

You can get a payment if temperatures are forecast to be zero or below for seven consecutive days in your area. 

With the cold weather payment, you can get up to £25 for each cold week from November 2023 to March 2024.

If you want to know ‘what benefits can you claim if you have dementia?keep reading here.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you are familiar with Pension Credit, then you might have heard of the Warm Home Discount Scheme. 

With this scheme, you can get a discount on your electricity bill and it’s a great way to save on your expenses. 

This is a discount and not a payment, so money is taken directly off your bill. 

There is the option to swap the discount to your gas bill, but it’s best to check with your supplier.

Who’s eligible?

This scheme provides you with a discount of £150 on your electricity bill for winter between October 2023 and March 2024.

However, this is a one-off discount on your gas or electricity bill, and not paid to you directly. 

You can apply if you have the Guarantee credit aspect from Pension Credit or high energy costs on low income.

This scheme is also available for those on prepayment metres and those who live in mobile homes.

What is the Cost of Living payment

What is the Cost of Living payment?

Cost of living payments are extra payments made to people who already receive benefits.

If you are eligible for Winter Fuel Payments, then you’ll receive a Pensioner Cost of Living payment.

This gets paid at the same time as the Winter Fuel Payment, to give you an extra £150 or £300.

I claim pension credit, what am I eligible for?

With pension credit, you can get access to various financial benefits that can help you save money.

You can get both the Warm House Discount and the Cost of Living Scheme if you are on pension credit.

So, if you’re of state pension age, have a look at finding additional benefits that work alongside your pension credit.

Confused by the benefits system?

Financial benefits for older people

What if I don’t qualify?

For example, you cannot get Winter Fuel Payments if you are in a care home and claim another benefit like pension credit. 

In these cases it can be difficult to access government support. 

However, there are ways in which you can reduce your energy costs at home so you can feel protected during winter. 

How to save energy as a pensioner

Saving energy doesn’t need to be complicated, it can be as simple as switching off the lights when you leave the room. 

Finding easy ways to save energy will decrease your costs, and save you from a shock when opening your bill. 

Lowering your gas and electricity usage in small ways will ensure your home stays warm without breaking the bank.

Reaching out to your energy providers can also help if you are struggling, as they may be able to help.

Grants and charity funds

If you are of pension age you can also try applying for grants and charity funds to help with expenses.

These types of funds usually mean you don’t have to return the money as it’s not considered a loan. 

Certain charities will also donate energy-saving household appliances if you’re looking to reduce your bills. 

Providers such as British Gas also have funding grants available and have free help and support online. 

local authority funding care home fees

British Gas Energy Support Fund

This grant is for both British Gas customers and it also caters to those on prepayment metres.

You must have an energy debt of up to £2,000, and be considered to be in Fuel Poverty.

If successful, the grant will be used to clear energy debt and will be paid into your energy credit account. 

You must meet all of the criteria to have a chance of getting this grant. 

Getting additional support

Other benefits for pensioners over 70 can help with care costs if you have an illness or disability.

Meaning that you have more money to put towards utilities.

So even if you aren’t eligible for any of the energy bill schemes, there may still be ways you can access support if you’re struggling.

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