You may be able to get help with your heating costs. Below, we outline some of the government funds available to help pay heating bills and make your home more energy efficient. You may also be able to get help from your energy provider.
For general information about benefits, contact the Benefit Enquiry Line on 08457 123456 (textphone 08457 22 44 33) in England, Wales or Scotland, or 0800 220674 in Northern Ireland.
The Energy Savings Trust also provides free information on saving energy and money. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website or call their Energy Efficiency Hotline on 0300 123 1234 (in Scotland, call 0800 512 012).
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is available to all UK residents over a certain age to help pay for heating. In order to qualify, you have to have been born on or before a certain date, which is revised annually (for example, 5 July 1951 for winter 2012-13). You also have to have been living in the UK during a 'qualifying week' earlier in the year. If you're eligible, you'll get £100-£300 per year.
Winter Fuel Payment comes automatically with your state payment or other benefits but you can also make a claim. Visit the government's Winter Fuel Payment pages for more information, or contact:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Department for Work and Pensions
PO Box 22
Gateshead NE92 1BX
Tel: 08459 15 15 15
Textphone: 0845 601 5613
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments are payments of £25 for each 7-day period where the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius in winter. You get these payments if you receive Pension Credit or other benefits, including income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
For more information, see the government's Cold Weather Payment pages.
Help with insulating your home
Government grants are available to help make your home more energy-efficient and help you save on your heating bills. For example, you may be able to get insulation, draught proofing or a new central-heating boiler. What you can get depends on where you live, as note below.
Your local authority may also be able to provide you with a grant or loan towards improving your home.
Warm Front (England)
Until January 2013, you could apply for a Warm Front grant if you were receiving Pension Credit or certain other disability-related benefits. It offered up to £3,500 to help pay for insulation in your home, and up to £6,000 towards replacing your old heating system.
For more information, see the government's Warm Front Scheme page.
Warm Homes and Warm Homes Plus (Northern Ireland)
If you're a homeowner, you may be able to get help from the Warm Homes or Warm Homes Plus schemes. Warm Homes offers help of up to £1,500 towards insulating your home. Through Warm Homes Plus, you may be able to get up to £6,500 towards insulation and updating of a heating system that uses oil or natural gas.
You may be eligible if you receive Pension Credit, Disability Living Allowance, income-related ESA or JSA, or certain other benefits. You must also be a homeowner. For more information, telephone 0800 988 0559 or visit the Warm Homes website.
Energy Assistance Package Scheme (Scotland)
You may be able to get energy-efficiency improvements worth up to £6,500 if you've lived in your house for over a year. What you can get depends on your age, the benefits you receive and how energy efficient your house is now.
Advice on how to access these grants, along with free energy-saving advice, is available to everyone in Scotland. Call the Home Energy Scotland helpline on 0800 512 012 or visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more information.
If you live in a home that isn't energy efficient, you might be able to get free improvements if you receive Pension Credit or certain other benefits, including income-related ESA or JSA. For more information, visit the Nest website, phone 0808 808 2244 or email email@example.com.
Last updated: December 2012