Help with heating costs

Keeping warm in winter

Most people over 60 and some other people who are at risk of fuel poverty can get help towards their heating costs - don't miss out.

Winter Fuel Payments

If you have reached the minimum qualifying age for Pension Credit you will get a Winter Fuel Payment to help with your winter heating bills.

Please note that State Pension age for women is gradually increasing from 60 to 65 - this began in April 2010. The lower age limit for claiming pension-age benefits is also gradually rising.

To find out when you may qualify for a State Pension, Pension Credit or a Winter Fuel Payment:

  • use the Gov.UK State Pension age calculator link
  • or call the Pension Service on 0345 606 0265.

The Winter Fuel Payment is a single tax-free payment.

Check your state pension age

Who can claim

Winter Fuel Payments are paid automatically before Christmas each year if:

  • you get a retirement pension or certain other benefits
  • or you received a payment last year.

Other people aged 60 or over will need to make a claim.

It does not matter how much income or savings you have, and payments will not affect your other benefits or pension.

How to claim

To learn more about Winter Fuel Payment or make a claim, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline.

Cold Weather Payments

These are paid for each week of exceptionally cold weather to help towards extra heating costs. You can get this if you receive any of the following benefits.

  • pension credit (any rate)
  • Income Support; income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and:
    • you are responsible for a child under the age of five
    • or your benefits include extra amounts because you have a long term illness or disability
    • or your Child Tax Credit includes an extra amount because you have a child with a disability or special needs.

For you to receive this help, the average temperature where you live must be (or be forecast to be) zero degrees centigrade or below for seven days in a row between 1 November and 31 March.

You will get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 for each seven-day cold period.

The payment is made automatically, so there is no need to claim.

Warm Home discount scheme

This provides a £135 rebate on your heating bill in winter for some people on low incomes. The scheme mostly targets older people receiving Pension Credit, but other people on low incomes may also get this help. To qualify, your electricity provider must be participating in the scheme. For more information you can view or download our 'Help with fuel costs' factsheet.

Energy company trust grants

Some utility providers have trust funds that can help by giving grants to some of their customers to help pay for gas and electricity arrears and other essential domestic bills.

To find out more about grants from utility providers, visit the Charis website or call 017 3342 1021.

Contact Welfare Rights

Welfare Rights enquiry form

Public Advice Line: 020 8921 6375

Textphone number: 18001 020 8921 6375

Fax: 020 8921 2016

Welfare Rights Service,
The Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
London SE18 6HQ

Order Keep Warm Keep Well booklet

You can order a copy of the booklet from the Department of Health publications order line. DH Publications, PO Box 777, London SE1 6XH Telephone: 0300 123 1002 Textphone contact: 0300 123 1003