According to the latest research, the average energy bill in the UK is more than £100 per month - around £1254 per year. The cost of energy can be a concern for anybody, but for older people in particular, this expense can become a bigger problem. After retirement, most older people live on a fixed income. Unfortunately, many people admit that this is simply not enough to pay for their bills. In 2017, Compare the Market conducted a survey, revealing that so-called fuel poverty is sadly on the rise. More than a quarter of Brits surveyed said they would need to cut their spending on other essentials like food in order to pay their rising bills. Fortunately, there is some help available from the Government. Today's article is a guide to the Winter Fuel Payment.
For more money-saving tips, 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 their energy bills. If you were born on or before 5 October 1954, you could receive between £100 and £300 to help pay for your bills - thanks to the Winter Fuel Payment.
You will receive the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you receive State Pension or other social security benefits such as Housing Benefits, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit. Don't worry if you don't receive benefits or a State Pension; you can still apply for Winter Fuel Payment. You will also need to apply if you have deferred your State Pension.
In order to receive the funding funding for winter 2020-2021, you will need to apply before 31 March 2021.
How Much Could I Claim?
The amount of money you receive will depend on your living situation and your age. The specific payment amounts also tend to change each year, according to inflation.
For people who have reached State Pension age but are below the age of 80, the following rules apply:
- If you live alone (or with other people, none of whom also qualify for Winter Fuel Payment) you will receive £200.
- If you qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies, you will receive £100.
- If you qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies, you will receive £100.
- If you qualify, live in a care home and don't receive pension credit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, or Income Support, you will receive £100.
For those aged 80 or over, the rules are a little different:
- If you qualify and live alone (or with other people, none of whom also qualify for Winter Fuel Payment) you will receive £300.
- If you qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies, you will receive £200.
- If you qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies, you will receive £150.
- If you qualify, live in a care home and don't receive pension credit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, or Income Support, you will receive £150.
How and When Will I Be Paid?
You will receive a letter from the government outlining the amount of money you will receive, along with an estimated payment date. Usually, you will receive the payment 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. The money will be paid directly into your bank account.
If your Winter Fuel Payment is not in your account by mid-January, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to notify them. They will investigate the delay and make sure you get the money you need.
How to Claim Winter Fuel Payment
In many cases, if you are eligible, you will receive your Winter Fuel Payment automatically. However, you'll need to submit a claim if haven't had it before and you do not receive any benefits or a State Pension. Furthermore, you'll need to claim if you only receive Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, or Child Benefit. Finally, if you receive benefits or a State Pension but you live in Switzerland or another EEA country, you will also need to make a claim for Winter Fuel Payment.
You can claim the Winter Fuel Payment over the phone or by post. You can find all the details on the official government website.
Other Helpful Benefits
Winter Fuel Payment isn't the only benefit you could claim. There are several other benefits and payments which can help you stay on top of your bills. It's important to know what you could be claiming and get all the help you need to stay warm in the winter. Alongside the Winter Fuel Payment, you could also receive:
- Cold Weather Payment. This is available when temperatures drop to zero degrees 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. This is a one-off discount on your electricity bill between September and March. If you are eligible, you will save around £140 on your energy bill! 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 criteria.
These are just a few of the benefits that exist to help elderly people and those on a low income. For all the information, read our helpful guide to benefits for pensioners and older people here.
Stay Safe With A Personal Alarm
As the temperatures begin to drop and winter sets in, it can be harder for older people to stay safe and healthy. From the risk of slips and falls to winter bugs, there are a few more hazards to contend with in the winter months. Luckily, there is a simple way to protect your health and wellbeing: the Lifeline Personal Alarm. This life-saving service gives protection and peace of mind to older people and those with disabilities up and down the country. For more information on the personal alarm service, please speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, you can get in touch via email or request a convenient call back from one of our experts on the Contact Us page.
You can also order a Lifeline alarm online today, with free next-day delivery on all orders.