Winter Benefits advice

If you were born on or before 26th September 1955 and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit) you may be eligible for a winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 to help you pay your fuel bills. Most payments are made automatically in November or December. If you think you are eligible and have not received your money by 14 January 2022, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160

If you do not qualify for Winter Fuel Payment, you may still be able to get a Cold Weather Payment if you claim certain benefits and the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days between November and March. This is paid automatically – you do not need to apply.

You could also get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill. You are eligible if you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit and should receive a letter from your supplier by December 2021. You may also qualify for the discount if you are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.  As the number of discounts suppliers can give is limited you should check with your supplier as early as possible to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.

If you are not sure how to claim or are worried about paying your fuel bills, the team of energy specialists at Uttlesford Citizens Advice can help.  Call them on 01799 618858 for benefit checks, the warm home discount scheme and help with fuel debt, as well as information on joining oil clubs, energy efficiency, affordable warmth and home improvement grants and the priority services register.

If you feel you can do without your winter fuel payment, perhaps consider donating it to help others in this area who are struggling. During cold weather many elderly people are faced with the stark choice of fuel or food, and lower temperatures increase the risk of health problems such as heart attacks, strokes and bronchitis.  Uttlesford Citizens Advice uses donations to help people save money on heating costs, including access to help with insulation, understand what financial help is available and manage any fuel-related debts. Donate via their website or call 01799 618840.