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Keeping warm in winter

If you're a pensioner or you're at risk of fuel poverty, you can get help towards your heating costs.

Winter Fuel Payments

You could get a Winter Fuel Payment worth between £100 to £300 to help pay your heating bill in 2020/21 if you were born on or before 5 October 1954. This date changes every year.

Eligibility

You should automatically get a Winter Fuel Payment without having to make a claim each year if you: 

  • satisfy the residence conditions
  • reached state pension age in the week beginning 21 September 2020  
  • receive a state pension or other social security benefit (except Child Benefit, Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support) 
  • received a payment last year. 

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

Payments are usually made between November and December each year. 

How to claim if you need to

If you qualify but do not get paid automatically, you'll need to make a claim on or before 31 March 2021.

To make a claim or to find out more, visit the GOV.UK Winter Fuel Payment page.

Cold Weather Payments

These are paid for each week of exceptionally cold weather to help towards extra heating costs.

Eligibility

You may get Cold Weather Payments if you're getting:

  • Pension Credit (any rate)
  • Support for Mortgage Interest
  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Universal Credit.

Other eligibility criteria apply depending on what benefits you get. You can check if you're eligible on GOV.UK.

What you'll get

You'll get a payment if the average temperature where you live is, or is 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.

You should tell Jobcentre Plus if you’re receiving one of the qualifying benefits and have just had a baby, or if a child under 5 comes to live with you. 

Warm Home discount scheme

You could get a £140 discount on your electricity bill in winter if you’re on a low income. The scheme mostly targets older people receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, but other people on low incomes or those at risk of fuel poverty may also be eligible. 

To qualify, your electricity provider must be participating in the scheme. Pensioners receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit usually get the discount automatically, but other groups will have to apply every year if they're eligible.  

It is best to apply as soon as possible as the number of discounts given by providers is limited. Most providers operate their discretionary schemes on a first come, first served basis and will then stop accepting new applications.  

Our Warm Home Discount factsheet provides more information, including the eligibility criteria for each provider. 

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.

Stay Warm Stay Safe 

This Royal Greenwich project provides extra services and support for residents who may be at risk during the cold weather.  

It particularly targets older people and vulnerable households such as families with young children or those with a physical, mental or learning disability.  

To find out more, visit the Live Well Greenwich website or call 0800 470 4831.

SELCE (South East London Community Energy) 

SLECE is a not-for-profit social enterprise formed by Greenwich and Lewisham residents.  

Services include energy efficiency advice and help to reduce energy bills.  

To find out more: