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Are you eligible for help with your energy bills?

Posted on 21 January 2016

If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay your energy bill this quarter, you may be entitled to a bit of help. There are a number of fuel benefits available to our most vulnerable energy customers, so to make sure you’re not missing out on any extra help you’re entitled to, check the qualifying criteria of the following benefits and be sure to claim if you’re eligible.

Winter Fuel Payment

Those eligible for Winter Fuel Payment will receive between £100 and £300 tax-free to assist paying for heating their home. If you’ve received a Winter Fuel Payment before, or if you get the State Pension, you will usually receive the payment automatically. If you’re eligible and don’t receive your payment automatically, you’ll need to make a claim. The Winter Fuel Payment won’t affect any other benefits you may be receiving. 

Eligibility

To qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2015 – 2016, the following criteria need to apply to you:

  • You were born on or before 5th January 1953 (for winter 2015-2016).
  • You were living in the UK throughout the week starting 21st – 27th September 2015.

However, you won’t be eligible for the payment if during the week of 21st- 27th September 2015 the following statements were applicable to you:

  • You were in prison.
  • You were in hospital receiving free treatment for more than 52 weeks.
  • You needed permission to enter the UK and didn’t qualify for help from the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • You had lived in a care home for the previous 12 weeks or more and received Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • You can still claim winter fuel payment if you were living in a European Economic Area (EEA), however you’re not eligible for the payment if you were living in either France, Cyprus, Greece, Gibraltar, Malta, Portugal or Spain.

If you live with a partner or civil partner who receives either Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, your partner will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf.

How to Claim

You can’t claim Winter Fuel Payment for 2015 – 2016 after 31st March 2016. However, if you qualify and haven’t received the payment, you can still make a retrospective claim.

Before you contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, you’ll need to have the following information at the ready:

  • Your National Insurance Number.
  • Your bank or building society details.
  • You BIC and IBAN numbers if you live in the EEA or Switzerland.
  • The date you were married or entered a civil partnership (if applicable).

To contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, you can claim by either email, phone or post. To claim via email, fill out the email enquiry form on their website. You can phone from both inside and outside the UK from Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm, using the following numbers:

  • Telephone: 03459 15 15 15
  • Telephone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
  • Textphone: 0345 606 0285
  • Textphone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7280

If you’d like to make a claim via post from inside the UK, use the following address:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre 
Mail Handling Site A 
Wolverhampton 
WV98 1LR

Finally, if you’re looking to make a claim from another EEA country or Switzerland, you can use the subsequent address:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre 
Mail Handling Site A 
Wolverhampton 
WV98 1ZU 
UK 

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a government initiative which grants vulnerable energy customers with a one-off rebate of £140 off their energy bill for winter 2015-2016. The money will be taken directly off your energy bill and won’t affect your other benefits.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the discount, your energy supplier needs to be signed up to the scheme. If you’re a Co-operative Energy customer and you’re eligible for the discount, you can apply for your rebate until the 31st March 2016, unless our quota is reached beforehand. There are a limited number of discounts available for the Broader Group and they’re awarded on a first come, first served basis.

The recipients of the Warm Home Discount Scheme are split into two groups, the Core Group and the Broader Group. If you’re part of the Core Group, you should have already automatically received your discount and you don’t need to apply.

To qualify for our Core Group, either your or your partner’s name needs to be on the energy bill and as of 12th July 2015, your energy supplier was Co-operative Energy and you were receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. If you don’t receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, but are on a low income or receive other benefits, you may qualify for the Broader Group.

How to claim

If you fit our qualifying criteria for the Broader Group, you will need to apply for your discount using our online application form. If you’re unsure as to whether you qualify for the Co-operative Energy Warm Home Discount Scheme, you can use our step-by-step eligibility flowchart to work out if you’re entitled to a rebate. 

Cold Weather Payment

Those entitled to get a Cold Weather Payment will receive a payment if the temperature in their area is recorded to be, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days. The scheme runs from 1st November 2015 – 31st March 2016 and you can check if a payment is due in your area by entering your postcode on their site.

If you’re entitled to a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll receive a payment of £25 for each seven-day period of cold weather from November to March. After each period of cold weather in your area, you should receive the payment within 14 working days and the payments won’t affect your other benefits.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you’re a recipient of one of the following:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and you have either a disability or pensioner premium, a child who is disabled, Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element or a child under five living with you.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and you have either the support or work-related element of ESA, a severe or enhanced disability premium, a pensioner premium, a child who is disabled, Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element or a child under five living with you.
  • Universal Credit, you’re not self-employed or employed and either you receive a limited capability for work element (with or without a work-related activity element), you receive a disabled child element in your claim or you have a child under five living with you.

How to claim

You shouldn’t need to apply for a Cold Weather Payment, you should receive them automatically. If your you have a baby, or a child under the age of five comes to live with you, notify Jobcentre Plus by calling on 0345 608 8545 to tell them about your change in circumstances.

If you haven’t received your Cold Weather Payment and you believe you qualify, contact your either your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office to flag the issue. 

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