Martin Lewis discusses Warm Home Discount policies
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Pensioners may not just be entitled to the state pension alone, and as the weather gets colder, it is worth checking what other support could be received. One key form of help is available through a Warm Home Discount, with the scheme specifically designed to help older people and those on a low income. Under the scheme, eligible people can get £140 off their electricity bill for the coming winter.
The money is not paid to them, but serves as a one-off discount on the bill between October and March.
With snow predicted in the coming days, many people will be using more of their utilities, and the scheme could provide a helping hand.
However, there are strict rules on the pensioners who can benefit from this support, so checking will avoid disappointment.
The “core” group eligible for support are pensioners who are in receipt of Pension Credit, a sum designed to help those over state pension age on a low income.
People will qualify if on July 4, 2021:
- They were in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
- Their energy supplier is part of the scheme
- Their name, or their partner’s name, is on the bill
The Warm Home Discount scheme for the core group has opened, and Britons can expect to receive a letter by December if they have not already.
This will tell them how they will be able to get the Warm Home Discount if they qualify.
The letter will say if a person needs to call a helpline by February 28, 2022 to confirm their details.
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An electricity supplier will apply the discount to a person’s bill by March 31, 2022.
If a person’s supplier is no longer trading, then they should not worry too much about their Warm Home Discount.
Those pensioners receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit can expect to hear from the DWP by mid-December with more information.
The Warm Home Discount is likely to be of particular help this winter, as many people are worried about rising utility costs.
Age UK has described the Warm Home Discount as a “vital tool in the fuel poverty armoury” to help pensioners on a low income.
However, many could be missing out if they fail to claim Pension Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, has expressed concerns about the winter ahead for older people.
She said: “There’s no doubt that media reports about rising energy bills are filling pensioners on low fixed incomes with absolute dread.
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“More than twenty-five thousand people have told us how worried they are, and it is clear that as things stand, some fully expect to have to choose between cutting down on food or turning down their heating, once the cold weather sets in.
“At Age UK our greatest concern is that some older people will not even try to keep their homes adequately warm this winter, for fear of incurring big bills they cannot afford to pay.
“Many older people are brilliant at making a small budget go a long way, but that’s unlikely to be enough to protect them from the impact of rising household bills and soaring energy costs this time round.”
Earlier in the year, the Department for Work and Pensions ran a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit.
It hopes more people will look into their eligibility for the so-called gateway benefit which could unlock other entitlements.
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