Energy bills for people with disabilities: Get help this winter
By: fishadmin, On: 30 September 2018
As the nights draw in and the colder weather begins to bite, many of us will find ourselves using more gas and electricity as we crank up the heating and leave lights on for longer. But did you know that, if you are of a certain age or receive disability benefit, you may be entitled to financial help with your energy bills?
Here are the different schemes that could be available to you:
Winter fuel payment
If you were born on or before 5th January 1953, you are eligible for an annual one-off payment to help you pay for your heating. How much you’re eligible to receive depends on your age and circumstances, but it will range from £100 to £300.
Any money you receive won’t affect other benefits you’re entitled to. Payments are usually made automatically in November or December.
Warm home discount scheme
If you receive the guarantee credit part of pension credit (or you’re on a low income) you may be able to get £140 off your electricity bill through the warm home discount scheme. However, not all suppliers offer this and the criteria varies, so check with the company which provides your electricity. If your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity, you might be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead. If you’re eligible, the saving is taken off your monthly energy bill between October and March, rather than being paid to you directly.
Cold weather payments
If the weather is very cold, usually for a period of seven days or more with an average temperature of zero degrees Celsius or less, you could be entitled to cold weather payments. These are determined by the Department for Work and Pensions and you are only eligible if you’re already receiving benefits such as Pension Credit or Income-Related Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
If you’re eligible, you’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
Some energy suppliers provide a social tariff for vulnerable customers, which can include the elderly and people with disabilities. Contact your energy supplier to see if it’s something they provide and find out if you’re eligible.
Free gas safety checks
People who receive disability benefit may be entitled to a free annual gas safety check to make sure gas appliances are working correctly and efficiently. Contact your gas supplier who will be able to tell you if you could get a check-up for free.
Extra help from your supplier
Some suppliers offer extra support through a Priority Services Register. It means you can get help with things like reading your energy meter, moving your meter free of charge, and getting your bills sent to someone else, for example a carer.
Grants to help pay off your energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
Certain energy companies, such as British Gas Energy Trust, offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer.
Home insurance from Fish Insurance includes cover for your heating and water system. Find out more about our policy for standard and adapted homes here.