Worried about rising food, fuel, and energy prices this winter? Well, there may be help out there for you. Here’s a quick run through of what financial help is available this winter and how to work out if you’re eligible.
One-off £400 electricity bill payment
The government will give every household in Great Britain £400 off their energy bills this autumn. This, in short, is the Energy Bill Support Scheme.
The grant automatically goes into your energy account in instalments from October 2022 to March 2023. You don’t need to apply, everyone is eligible, and you also won’t need to pay it back. If you’re on a meter, you will receive your £400 in vouchers.
(!) Watch out for scammers. You will not be asked for your bank details to receive this payment. For more scam warning signs, read our guide on fraud prevention.
£650 Cost of Living Payment for vulnerable households
A one-off £650 Cost of Living Payment will go to around eight million households on means-tested benefits. This will be paid in two lump sum payments of £326 and £324. You’re likely eligible if you currently receive any of the following:
- Universal Credit.
- Income Support.
- Pension Credit.
- Child Tax Credit.
- Working Tax Credit.
- Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance.
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Most people should have received the first payment by the end of July 2022. In addition, the second payment will go out in autumn 2022.
Winter Fuel Payment
Born before 25th September 1956? Well, you may be entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment. This is a payment of between £250 and £600 to help with your heating bills. This year, it will also include the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment (explained below).
You’ll automatically get the Winter Fuel Payment if you’re eligible and get either:
- the State Pension
- another social security benefit (excluding Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Universal Credit)
Uncover full eligibility details in this Winter Fuel Payment eligibility criteria.
In general, payments will take place automatically between November and December. Additionally, you should make all payments before 13th January 2023. Moreover, if you’re eligible, you don’t usually need to claim. However, you can make a claim before the end of March 2023 if you believe you should have received your payment.
£300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
A £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment will receive their payout in November and December 2022, within the Winter Fuel Payment. This is also on top of any other Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefits or tax credits.
If you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment for this winter (2022 to 2023), you will also be eligible for this £300 payment.
£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment
If you currently receive disability benefits, you may have entitlement to a one-off £150 lump sum payment. You’ll be eligible if you’re currently receiving the following:
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
You’ll need to have received a payment for one of these benefits for 25th May 2022.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
This year, the Warm Home Discount Scheme will reopen in November 2022. This scheme is a £140 reduction in your electricity bill. This payment does not affect your Winter Fuel Payment or Cold Weather Payment.
To be eligible, you either need to:
- get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (core group)
- be on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme (broader group)
If you’re in the core group, you should receive a letter from your energy supplier telling you how you’ll get the discount. If you’re in the broad group, contact your energy supplier as soon as the scheme opens to check your eligibility as there are only a limited number of discounts available.
Your discount should be applied by the end of March 2023.
Cold Weather Payment
You could be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment if you’re on specific benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
The Cold Weather Payment is only available if the average temperature in your area is recorded or forecast to be 0°C or lower for seven consecutive days.
For each consecutive seven days of cold weather between 1st November and 31st March, you’ll get £25.
As well as the additional financial help available this winter, you can still claim your usual benefits and tax credits. In this guide, we’ve run through the top five annual benefits that go unclaimed each year.