Paying for heating during cold weather

This page looks at ways you can reduce the amount you spend on heating during the cold winter months. If you are elderly, disabled or on a low income, you may be able to get some help to pay your bills.

Winter fuel payment

If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get a winter fuel payment. This is an annual payment to help with the costs of heating your home during winter. The grant ranges from £100 to £300. How much you get depends on your circumstances.

If you are getting the State Pension or some welfare benefits you should be sent your winter fuel payment automatically. Otherwise, you may have to claim your first winter fuel allowance payment.

You can find out more about winter fuel payment and how to claim on GOV.UK.

Warm home discount scheme

You might qualify for a £140 discount on your electricity bill in winter if you either:

  • receive the guarantee element of pension credit

  • have a low income

  • claim certain means-tested benefits

How to apply

Applying for a warm home discount scheme differs depending on how you qualify for the discount.

If you receive the guarantee element of pension credit:

  • you should receive a letter between October and December telling you how to get the discount if you qualify

  • you should contact the warm home discount helpline if you do not get the letter by 31 December and you think you’re eligible

If you have low income or claim certain means-tested benefits:

  • check with your electricity supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply

Find more information on the warm home discount on GOV.UK

Cold weather payments

You may be eligible to receive a cold weather payment if you claim one of the following benefits:

  • pension credit

  • income support

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Universal Credit

You do not need to apply, payments are made automatically if you are eligible. Payments are made when temperatures drop below freezing in your area for 7 days in a row between the beginning of November and the end of March.

You receive £25 for each 7 day period.

Saving money

Heating your home can be expensive. You could save on your gas and electricity bills each year by changing your supplier. Price comparison websites such as Uswitch or  MoneySuperMarket allow you to compare prices. 

Our page on energy saving measures has tips on how to save energy and money in your home.

More support

Local voluntary organisations

If you are elderly, disabled or vulnerable in some way, you may be able to get a grant or charitable payment from a local voluntary organisation. An adviser at Citizens Advice may be able to put you in touch with an organisation which can help you.

Age Scotland

Age Scotland produces a useful information pack with more information about paying for heating if you're retired or elderly.

British Gas Energy Trust

You may be able to apply for a British Gas Energy Trust grant if you have gas and/or electricity debts.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 9 June 2021

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