Warm Home Discount – Apply now for £140 off your winter fuel bill

Small house in the gloves

Apply now for £140 off your winter energy bill, but you’ll need to be fast to get it

Warm Home Discount explained

The scheme launched in April 2011 and offers the most vulnerable people a reduction on their energy bills over the coldest months, but it’s not open long.

Applications have now opened for a discount scheme that offers some of the most vulnerable households a £140 discount on their energy bills over winter.

The Warm Home Discount – launched by the Government in 2011 – is designed to support people at risk of fuel poverty, but unlike Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel discounts , it’s offered by the energy suppliers themselves.

Current rules mean any provider with 250,000 or more customers has to offer it to the most at risk families (known as the ‘core’ group) however from winter 2019/20, any supplier with more than 150,000 customers will also have to offer it .

The scheme pays families £140 over winter to help keep their energy bills as affordable as possible.

Last year over 2 million people claimed it – namely those retired or on low incomes.

Two groups of people can claim the discount – the ‘core’ band who are automatically enrolled each year – and the ‘broader’ group who will have to apply for it manually.

The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. Sometimes, however, it may be paid as a rebate later on in the year.

The Government says any ‘broader’ candidates that wish to apply for the scheme can start on 15 October 2018 – however some suppliers are already taking applications.

It’s largely first come, first served, so the sooner you get on the list, the better. All payments will be processed by 31 March 2019.

Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount?

You may qualify for the discount if you:

  • Get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit – known as the ‘Core group’
  • Are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the ‘Broader group’

Core Group

If you’re in the Core group you’ll receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) starting your eligibility by the end of November 2018.

It’ll tell you whether you’ll need to provide further information to the Warm Home Discount Scheme helpline or will confirm that you’ve been successfully matched and can receive the discount without needing to take any further action.

You’re in the Core Group if on 9 July 2018, you or your partner received either of the following:

  • The Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit only (not just the State Pension)
  • The Guarantee Credit element and the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit

If you have any problems, or think you may qualify for this, the DWP should be your main port of call – contact the DWP here .

Broader Group

If you don’t qualify for the Core group you may qualify for the Broader group. This applies if you’re the account holder (or their partner) and you or another member in your home meets the set criteria (this may vary by provider).

This usually covers you if you are:

  • In receipt of the Savings or Guarantee and Savings element of the State Pension Credit
  • In receipt of one of the following means-tested eligible benefits: Income Support, Income based Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
  • Are a customer with a gross annual household income (HHI) of less than £16,190 and the account holder is living with mental or physical disability or illness, or there is vulnerability within the home (children living in the house aged 5 or under) or of pensionable age.
  • Are a customer with a gross annual household income (HHI) of less than £16,190 and spend 10% or more of household income on energy bills to heat the property.

How to apply for the discount

How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount. If you do not receive a letter from the DWP by the end of November 2018, you may not qualify as a Core customer.

Instead, you can apply for the Broader group discount through your provider directly (see list below)

Unlike the Winter Fuel Payment, you will need to apply for the scheme each year in order to be considered for payment.

How will I receive the Warm Home Discount?

It will be shown on your electricity bill as a Warm Home Discount of £133.33. With VAT this will mean an overall £140 towards your electricity costs. This will happen by 31 March 2019.

If you think you should have received it this year but haven’t, you can call the DWP’s Warm Home Discount helpline on 0800 731 0214 from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

What about pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters?

You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.

Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.

Bear this in mind

For the most competitive deals on your energy usage, experts say it’s best to compare suppliers every six months to ensure you’re on the lowest tariff for your household.

We recommend that you use the following websites to find the best deal for your energy needs. MoneySupermarket, CompareTheMarket, Confused and EnergyHelpline and see which deals are available in your area.

However, while this has never been so important, if you do qualify for the Warm Home Discount, make sure your new supplier is offering it first – or that the new tariff is at least £140 cheaper than it would be with your newer supplier.

What suppliers are offering the Warm Home Discount?

 

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