Cold weather payments and winter fuel payments: are you eligible for financial help with your heating bills?
As the winter weather bites, could you ask for some help with your heating bills?
There are warnings the cost of heating the typical UK home is set to double because of an increase in the energy price cap, which controls how much companies can charge customers for their gas and electric.
Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) has warned that average domestic dual fuel energy bills, which have already soared by more than £230 per customer compared with last winter, could increase by a further £550 a year.
Cold weather and winter fuel payments are now available to households who may be struggling to heat their homes and make ends meet. Here's how you could qualify...
Winter Fuel Payments
Heating a home in winter can be difficult – and as temperatures drop, costs can quickly escalate.
The Winter Fuel Payment is paid to pensioners to help them with their heating bills during the winter months.
If you were born before September 26, 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help with your bills.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you're eligible and either get a state pension or another social security benefit – but not housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or Universal Credit.
And if you've received a payment before you will not need to claim again unless, for any reason, you've deferred your state pension or moved abroad.
Most payments are made automatically in November or December, and everyone should be in receipt of their money by January 14, 2022.
The deadline for you to make a claim for this winter is March 31, 2022. You can learn more here.
Cold Weather Payments
Unlike Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments are paid only if the temperatures where you live drop considerably and for a set period of time.
The average temperature recorded must be – or forecast to be – zero degrees celsius (0C/32F) or below for seven consecutive days.
Should the weather take such a turn – and you're entitled to a payment – you'll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.
Among those who may be able to make a claim are people receiving pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or Universal Credit.
But alongside receiving one of the listed benefits you must also – in most cases – meet additional criteria on the form such as being unemployed if you're on Universal Credit, have a child under five living with you or be suffering from a disability or long-term health condition or illness.
You can read more about the criteria you'll need to meet in order to collect a Cold Weather Payment here.