Energy bills can be a cause for concern for anybody, but for older people they can become a bigger problem. After retirement, most older people live on a fixed income. Unfortunately, a high percent of people admit that this is simply not enough to pay for their bills.
A survey carried out by Compare The Market at the beginning of the year (January 2017) revealed that a third of pensioners would be forced to ration their heating in order to keep their bills down.
2000 people aged 65 and over took part in the survey, with around 90% of these people saying that the high costs of gas and electricity present a real health threat to older people. In fact, only 36% of the survey could say that they could “definitely afford” an increase in energy bills. In order to pay for their energy bills:
- 43% said that they would be forced to dip into their savings.
- 38% said that they would have to cut down on other expenditures, such as food.
Fortunately, there is some help available from the Government and today’s post will take you through the Winter Fuel Payment. For other ways of saving money on your energy bill, see our in-depth article.
Winter Fuel Payment
Older people may not be aware that they can claim financial help when it comes to paying for their energy bills. If you were born on or before November 5, 1953 you could receive between £100 and £300 to help pay for your bills – thanks to the Winter Fuel Payment.
You will automatically receive this payment if you receive State Pension or other social security benefits such as Housing Benefits, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit. If you have never received this payment before or don’t receive benefits or a State Pension you will need to apply. You will also need to apply if you have deferred your State Pension.
In order to receive the funding next winter you will need to claim before the end of March 2019. The amount of money you receive will depend on your living situation and your age. If you were born between September 25, 1938 and November 5, 1953 the following rules apply:
- You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) – You will receive £200.
- You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies – You will receive £100.
- You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who qualifies – You will receive £100.
- You qualify, live in a care home and don’t receive certain benefits – You will receive £100.
If you were born on or before September 23, 1938:
- You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) – You will receive £300.
- You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies – You will receive £200.
- You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who qualifies – You will receive £150.
- You qualify, live in a care home and don’t receive certain benefits – You will receive £150.
How you’re Paid
You will receive a letter from the government outlining the amount of money you will receive, along with an estimated payment date. Most payments are made between November and December. If you’re already receiving other benefits, you should receive your Winter Fuel Payment at the same time as your regular payments.
If you’re money is not in your account by January 14, 2019, you need to call the office that pays your benefits -there details will be on any letters they send to you.
How to Claim
If you’re eligible, you should automatically receive your Winter Fuel Payment. You’ll need to claim it if you’ve not had it before and any of the following apply:
- You do not get benefits or a State Pension.
- You only get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit.
- You get benefits or a State Pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country.
You also need to claim Winter Fuel Payment if you have deferred your State Pension, even if you had it before. You only need to do this once. You can claim the Winter Fuel Payment over the phone or by post. Details can be found on the official government website.
Other benefits to help keep you your energy bills up-to-date, and therefore to help keep you warm in the winter, include:
- Cold Weather Payment – Available when temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days. You’ll receive £25 for each seven-day period of cold weather between November 1 and March 31.
- Warm Home Discount Scheme – A one-off discount, around £140, on your electricity bill between September and March. You will qualify if you receive the ‘Guarantee Credit element of Pension credit’ or if you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criterion.
Find out more about the Personal Alarm
For more information on purchasing one of our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Remember to use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one of our personal alarm systems on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.