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Government help with winter gas and electricity bills

There are several Government schemes available during the winter to help you pay your gas and electricity bills and keep warm during the cold weather.

Depending on your individual situation, you could be entitled to government help through a:

  • warm home discount,
  • winter fuel payment, or
  • cold weather payment

Your gas and electricity are priority bills that should be accounted for in your monthly budget and kept up to date, especially as the consequences of not paying your gas or electricity bills could be serious.

What’s the warm home discount scheme?

If you're eligible, the 2020-2021 version of the warm home discount scheme gives you a discount of £140 off your electricity bill. Payments are made directly to your supplier between September 2020 and March 2021, and will be reflected on your energy bill statement.

The warm home discount is in addition to your cold weather or winter fuel payments. 

Who can apply for the warm home discount?

Two groups qualify for the discount: the 'core' group and the 'broader' group. You’ll automatically be entitled to the warm home discount if:

  • you are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
  • your energy supplier is part of the scheme, and
  • your name (or your partner’s) is on the bill

All three conditions need to be met to be included in the core group.

If this doesn’t apply to you, you could still be entitled to the discount if:

  • your energy supplier is part of the scheme,
  • you’re on a low income, or
  • you get certain means-tested benefits

This is the broader group. To obtain the payment, you’ll need to apply directly to your energy supplier and stay with them until the discount is paid.

For more information on how to apply, check gov.uk.

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What’s the cold weather payment scheme?

Between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021, you could be entitled to extra payments of £25 if the weather drops to or below zero degrees celsius in your local area for seven days in a row.

Who can apply for the cold weather payment?

You could be entitled to a cold weather payment if you receive a range of benefits, including:

  • Pension credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Universal credit
  • Support for mortgage interest

For more information on eligibility go to gov.uk. There's no need to apply for a cold weather payment, as it's added automatically to your benefit payment.

What’s the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment entitles you to between £100 and £300 towards your heating bills. The payments are usually made between November and December to help keep you and your home warm over the winter.

Who can apply for the winter fuel payment?

To qualify for a winter fuel payment for winter 2020-2021, you’ll need to:

  • have been born on or before 5 November 1954, and
  • lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 21 to 27 September 2020

cog iconThe deadline for claiming payments towards winter 2020 to 2021 is 31 March 2021. You must reapply every year to claim your winter fuel payments.

If you’re entitled to a winter fuel payment, your other benefits won’t be affected. To find out more about who’s eligible and how to apply, visit gov.uk.

I’m struggling with my gas and electricity bills. Can you help?

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