Energy Grants. With the long hot summer over and the nights drawing in, many people’s main concern will be how to get help with heating their homes and any financial assistance they can get with the cost of living.
Here are some key ways you can get this kind of help across the UK this September.
SENSE COST OF LIVING FUND
Sense and Turn2Us have joined forces to create a new fund to help disabled households in the midst of the Cost of Living crisis.
Click here to access the Sense Cost of Living Support Fund – which has been set up to award a one-off emergency grant of £500 to 1000 disabled households already using Sense services.
The fund benefits disabled children and adults with complex disabilities who live with their families, are on a low income or struggling to pay for essentials. Sense has teamed up with anti-poverty charity Turn2Us and between them, they have provided half of the available grants.
£400 ENERGY DISCOUNT
The government will give every household £400 off their electricity bill. This is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
You don’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t have to pay it back.
You’ll get the £400 in 6 installments starting from October 2022. You’ll get:
- £66 in October and November
- £67 in December, January, February and March
You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card.
How you get the discount will depend on how you pay for energy.
HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT FUND
£421 million has been made available to County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England to support those most in need to help with significantly rising living costs. This funding covers the period from 01 April 2022 to 30 September 2022 inclusive.
Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used: primarily to support households with children, and pensioners who have energy bills, food and water bills. In exceptional cases of genuine emergency, this fund can be used to support housing costs where existing housing support schemes do not meet this exceptional need.
COUNCIL TAX REBATE
You can get £150 back from the council to help pay your energy bills – this is called a ‘rebate’.
You’ll get the rebate if you pay council tax and your home is in council tax bands A to D. You can find your band on your council tax bill or check your council tax band on GOV.UK
You’ll only get the rebate if you’re the person who has to pay council tax for your household. Only one person per household will get the rebate.
You’ll get the rebate even if you:
- get a Council Tax Reduction, including a full reduction, and your home is in bands A to D
- get the Disabled Band Reduction discount and your home is in bands A to E
- are subject to immigration control and your biometric residence permit says “no recourse to public funds”
If you get benefits, the rebate won’t affect them.
If you can’t get the rebate, the council might still offer you financial help. For example, they might help you if you’re in council tax bands E to H and you get certain benefits. Contact your local council to see if they can help you – find your local council on GOV.UK.
How to get it…
If you set up a direct debit to pay your council tax before the end of March 2022, your council should pay you automatically. Local councils will start making the payments directly into bank accounts in April 2022.
If you don’t pay by direct debit or didn’t set up a direct debit before the end of March 2022, you should still get a rebate.
Your local council will contact you – they’ll probably ask you to complete an online form.
After you’ve given the council your details, they’ll make the payment as soon as possible.
If you don’t hear from your council, contact them to check how you can claim the rebate. You should contact them before September 30, 2022 when the scheme closes.
WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME
If you get benefits, you might be able to get £150 off your electricity bill or £150 added to your prepayment meter. You don’t need to apply for the scheme – payments are automatic.
Check which energy supplier you were with on August 21, 2022. You can only get the discount if your supplier is in the scheme. The following suppliers are part of the scheme:
- Affect Energy
- British Gas
- Bulb Energy
- Co-op Energy
- E (Gas and Electricity)
- E.ON Next
- EDF Energy
- Good Energy
- Green Energy UK (GEUK)
- London Power
- M&S Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Outfox the Market
- Rebel Energy
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Shell Energy Retail
- So Energy
- Utility Warehouse
If you or your partner get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you should get the Warm Home Discount.
You might also be able to get the Warm Home Discount if you get a different benefit and the government decides you have ‘high energy costs’. They’ll work this out automatically – you don’t need to contact them.
If you have high energy costs, you’ll get the Warm Home Discount if you get any of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit Savings Credit
- Housing Benefit
- income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits
- Income Support
You might be able to get a voucher to help pay for your energy. You might be able to get a voucher to help pay for your energy if either:
- you use a prepayment meter
- you don’t use gas or electricity for your heating
If you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter
You might be able to get a fuel voucher. This is a code given to you in a letter or in a text message or email. You can use it to add credit to your gas card or electricity key. If you don’t have one of these, contact your supplier to get one.
Your local council might be able to help you get a fuel voucher – find your local council on GOV.UK. If you’re still not sure if you can get a voucher, get help from an adviser.
You can use a fuel voucher at:
To use your voucher you’ll need to take:
- the code and instructions
- some form of ID – for example, your passport or a bill with your name and address
You must use your fuel voucher within 3 months after you get it.
If you have problems using your voucher, contact the organization that gave it to you – you should be able to find their contact information on the instructions.
If you don’t use gas or electricity for your heating
You might be able to get a fuel voucher if you:
- rely on oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal or wood as your main source of heating
- aren’t on the gas grid
You’ll need to show that you can’t heat your home because you can’t afford to buy fuel – or you might not be able to afford it soon.
Talk to an adviser if you need a voucher. Your local Citizens Advice will need to apply for you.
WINTER FUEL PAYMENT
As opposed to an energy grant per se, The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter.
You can usually get a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before September 25, 1956.
You’ll automatically get an extra ‘pensioner cost of living payment’ with your usual Winter Fuel Payment in either November or December.
You should start getting the Winter Fuel Payment automatically once you reach State Pension age, but sometimes you may need to apply. You can find out how to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment on GOV.UK.
Check how much pensioner cost of living payment you’ll get
You’ll get £300 if you live either:
- on your own
- with people who don’t qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment
If you live with someone else who qualifies for the Winter Fuel Payment, the amount you’ll get depends on whether either of you get any of the following:
- Pension Credit
- income-related ESA
- income-based JSA
If either you or the person you live with gets one of these benefits, you’ll both get £300 – as long as you’re not partners. If you’re partners, you’ll only get one £300 payment.
If neither of you get one of these benefits, you’ll both get £150.
If you live in residential care and qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment, you’ll get £150 unless you get any of these benefits. If you get any of the benefits, you won’t get a pensioner cost of living payment.
COLD WEATHER PAYMENTS
Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold.
You’ll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period of time.
You’ll only be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you already get:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- support for mortgage interest
If you’re eligible, you’ll get paid automatically. Find out more about Cold Weather Payments on GOV.UK.
ENERGY DEBT GRANTS
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, you might be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer. You’ll need to get debt advice before applying – get help from a debt adviser.
If you’ve already spoken to a debt adviser – check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.
When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member. You can also talk to an adviser for help filling in forms.
LOCAL ENERGY GRANTS
You might be able to find grants or schemes run by your local council. Find your local council on GOV.UK.
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you’ve reached state pension age, you’re disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers you ‘vulnerable’.
Your energy supplier can help you with things like:
- reading your energy meter
- moving your energy meter free of charge
- getting your bills sent or copied to someone else – for example, a carer
And don’t forget
If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.
You can also get help with debts.
If you’re struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.