Financial Support in Winter for Carers

Keeping warm in winter is particularly important if we are caring for an older person or someone with a long term health condition or disability. When the weather turns chilly we might be concerned about the cost. Here we take a look at the three main heating benefits in the UK.

  • Warm Home Discount Scheme

  • Cold Weather Payment

  • Winter Fuel Payments

Receiving these payments will not impact other benefits and they don’t impact each other. Each has different criteria for eligibility but if you or the person you care for are on a low income or over 65 find out more below.

1. Warm Home Discount Scheme

What is it?

A one off discount of £140 on your electricity bill between September and March each year

Who is it for?

There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You also need to be with an energy supplier who is part of the scheme.

  1. If you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit on the 5th of July 2020

  2. If you're on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme

How can I apply?

If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit you’ll get a letter between October and December 2020 telling you how to get the discount. There will be details of the helpine that you will need to call by 26 February 2021.

If you’re on a low income you will need to contact your energy supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply. Do check with your supplier as early as possible. The number of discounts suppliers can give are limited.

It might not be too late to get it for this year, do check. Also make a note in your diary to sign up in October each year as discounts are available on a first come first served basis

When will it be paid?

Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31 March 2021.

Further information

Check if your electricity supplier is part of the scheme:

Read the full guidance on the government website:

2. Cold Weather Payment

What is it?

A payment of £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Who is it for?

You’ll usually get a Cold Weather Payment if you get Pension Credit

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting one of the following:

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Universal Credit

  • Support for Mortgage Interest

Check full details of eligibility here

This may be particularly relevant for if you are caring for someone with a health condition or disability or supporting someone with an application who has a health condition or disability.

How can I apply?

You do not need to apply. If you are eligible you’ll be paid automatically

The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021. Check if you can get a payment in your area.

When will it be paid?

After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days. It’s paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

Further Information

Read the full guidance on the government website here

3. Winter Fuel Payments

What is it?

An annual payment of between £100 and £300 to help pay your heating bills

Who is it for?

If you were born on or before 5 October 1954.

There are some further eligibility criteria that will affect how much you get. For example people over 80 will get a higher amount and if 2 people live in the same household only one person will be paid. Find out more here

How can I apply?

Most people will get their Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim). If you don’t receive a State Pension or other benefits or live abroad you will need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre by 31st March 2021

When will it be paid?

Most payments are made in November and December. The money should be in your account by 31st March. If not contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre

Further Information

Read the full guidance on the government website here

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