WARM HOMES DISCOUNT SCHEME
The Warm Homes Discount Scheme helps some pensioners with their energy bills. In winter 2012/2013, the scheme will give those who qualify a £130 discount from their energy bills.
The scheme applies to pensioners who receive pension credit, which is an income-related benefit to top up a state pension. Pension credit is made up of two separate parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You might receive just one of these or both. If you’re not sure whether you receive pension credit or which parts you receive, or if you do not already receive it but want to find out if you are entitled, call the pension credit helpline on 0800 99 1234.
If you are under 80 years old, You are entitled to this discount if :
a) You receive the Guarantee Credit aspect of Pension Credit
b) You DO NOT receive the Savings Credit aspect of Pension credit.
c) Your name, or your partner’s name is on your electricity bill.
d) You get your electricity from one of the following energy suppliers: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower, Equigas, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec and Utility Warehouse.
If you are over 80 years old, you are entitled to this discount if:
a) You receive the Guarantee Credit aspect of Pension Credit (if you are over 80, you can receive the discount even if you receive Savings Credit as well)
b) Your name, or your partner’s name is on your electricity bill.
c) You get your electricity from one of the following energy suppliers: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower, Equigas, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec and Utility Warehouse.
If you meet the conditions above you do not need to do anything now to get your discount in 2012/2013. The Government will write to all those potentially eligible for the discount in autumn 2012.
NB Several energy suppliers offer Warm Homes Discounts to a broader range of people beyond pensioners. To find out whether you could qualify, contact your energy supplier.
COLD WEATHER PAYMENTS
If there is a period of very cold weather in your area you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment. A period of very cold weather is classed as when the temperature is an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days in a row. The value of the payment is £25 for each seven consecutive days of cold weather.
You don’t need to apply for a cold weather payment – if you’re entitled, you will automatically receive this.
To receive a payment, you have to receive certain benefiits:
- If you get Pension Credit, you will usually receive a Cold Weather payment.
- If you receive Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will get Cold Weather Payments if you also have any of the following:
a) a disability or pensioner premium included in your benefit
b) a child who is disabled
c) Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
d) a child under five living with you
- If you receive income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), you will usually receive Cold Weather Payments if you also have any of the following:
a) the support or work-related component of ESA
b) a severe or enhanced disability premium included in your benefit
c) a pensioner premium included in you rbenefit
d) a child who is disabled
e) Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
f) A child under five living you you
If you think you are entitled to a Cold Weather Payment but have not received one within 14 working days of a very cold period, then contact your local pension centre or Jobcentre Plus.
WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS
The Winter Fuel Payment is paid to all households with an occupant who was born on or before 5 July 1951. The amount a household is entitled to depends upon your personal situation, but is between £100 and £300 per winter. The payment is paid regardless of your income and you can get it if you’re still working or claiming a benefit.
Your household will receive this payment in winter 2012/2013 if you (or someone else living in your house) were born on or before 5 July 1951 and NONE of the following applies for the week of 17-23 September 2012:
- you were in hospital for more than 52 weeks previously, getting free treatment as an inpatient
- you were in custody serving a court sentence
- you were subject to immigration control and did not qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions
- you lived in a care home, an independent hospital or Ilford Park Polish Resettlement Home (and had done so for the previous 12 weeks or more) and you were on Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- you move to another European Economic Area country or Switzerland and didn’t qualify before you moved.
If you are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment and receive any of the following, then you do not need to claim and will be paid automatically:
Employment and Support Allowance
Disability Living Allowance
Graduated Retirement Benefit
Industrial Injuries Benefits
Severe Disablement Allowance
If you do not receive any of the above benefits but you are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, then you need to claim. You can do this by downloading a claim form online or by requesting a claim form by calling 0845 9 15 15. If you need to claim, make sure that you have sent your claim form in to arrive on or before September 21 to get your payment before Christmas.
Government advice: www.gov.uk
Home Heat Helpline: useful advice service for people struggling with fuel bills. Find this online at www.homeheathelpline.org.uk or ring their free advice line on 0800 33 66 99.
Citizens’ Advice Bureau: find advice online and search for your local advice centre at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or call 08444 111 444.
Energy Supplier helplines:
British Gas: 0800 072 8629
EDF: 0800 096 9966
EON: 0345 301 4875
RWEnpower: 0800 073 3000
Scottish and Southern Electricity: 0845 026 0658
Scottish Power: 0845 026 0658