Keep Warm With A Heating Allowance

Winter heating allowances are essential for many energy customers who are in fuel poverty or at risk of falling into it.  But it can be difficult to work out exactly when and how they are paid and whether you need to do anything to claim.  Here, we look at the main heating payments that you can benefit from.

winter payments to help with energy bills

Heating Allowances You Can Get

The main forms of heating allowances you can get are:

  1. Winter Fuel Payment
  2. Warm Home Discount
  3. Cold Weather Payment
  4. Help from your energy supplier

Winter Fuel Payment

image of winter fuel payment logo

Also known as the winter fuel allowance, this government payment can help towards heating bills if you are state pension age and are on certain benefits such as Pension Credit and Income Support. 

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. To qualify you have to have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 – called the ‘qualifying week’.

How much do you get? Between £100 and £300 depending on age, paid annually.

How to claim:  If you have not made a claim before, visit this webpage on the gov website. After the first time, you don’t need to claim but get it automatically.  However, to qualify you need to be on state pension or get another social security benefit. 

When are payments made?  You’ll be paid in November or December and 31 March of the following year at the latest.  You should receive it in the same way pension and other benefits are paid currently

Cold Weather Payment

How much do you get? One-off payment from the government of £25 for each 7 day period between 1 November and 31 March.  Payment is given to certain households in an area that records or forecasts average temperature at 0 degrees Celsius or lower for 7 consecutive days.  

How to claim: Need to be on pension credit, income support or income-based jobseekers allowance, universal credit etc.  Each of these has other eligibility criteria.  If you qualify you’ll be paid it automatically and don’t need to make a separate claim.

When are payments made?  Paid around 14 days after each valid 7 day cold period. It is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.

Eligibility criteria for cold weather payment

You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

Warm Home Discount Scheme 

A government scheme to help energy customers who are in or at risk of fuel poverty and gives a rebate off your electricity bill.  Your energy supplier needs to be part of the scheme.  Over 40 energy suppliers take part in the scheme but some do not offer it to all their customers.

How much do you get?  Discount of £140 off your electricity bill over the winter period.  

How to claim:  ‘Core’ group of customers don’t need to claim as they receive Pension credit guarantee element.  ‘Broader’ group need to claim each year directly to their energy supplier if they are on low income and meet their supplier’s individual eligibility criteria. 

You can only get one type of warm home discount either from the core group or broader group, but not both.

When are payments made? The discount will be applied on the energy bill any time up to 31 March following the winter period.    Most suppliers tend to give the discount later on in the scheme when the applications limit has been reached and this way customers need to stay with the supplier they applied to when the payment time comes. 

Energy supplier grants and funds

This is help offered by energy suppliers mainly for their customers and sometimes for non customers too.  If you are in debt to your energy supplier and struggling to manage this debt, speak to your supplier straight away. 

Many suppliers have some form of help in addition to the government run winter heating payments.  Customers that ‘slip through the net’ in terms of winter fuel, cold weather or warm home discount payments should apply directly to your energy supplier to see if they can help.  Some give their own one-off payments towards bills.

Most of the big suppliers offer grants and schemes to their customers so if you need help, make sure to contact them.  Schemes go by the name of Energy Fund, Hardship Fund, Energy Assistance, or Energy Trust.  You will need to provide detailed information about your income and expenses before the supplier decides it can help or not.

grants and funds

In debt with gas and electric bills?

The rising cost of gas and electricity bills leaves thousands of families struggling with debt each year.  Working alongside government schemes and energy suppliers, millions of pounds are available to help people in financial hardship.  You can apply to these even if you have received other forms of financial help.

Charities that can help with energy bill debts


Charis Grants


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