With the cold months fast approaching, you may be worried about how you or an elderly friend/relative will afford to stay warm this winter.
According to Age UK, two thirds of people over 60 struggle to pay their energy bills. Of course, there are simpler ways to stay warm such as wearing more layers and draught proofing, but for the majority of time, this is not enough. Luckily there are various government schemes and charities which can help them to stay warm this winter. These include:
1) Winter Fuel Allowance
The Winter Fuel Allowance is a government funded scheme that provides an annual payment to go towards the cost of heating your home.
People born on or before August 6th 1953 may qualify for the Winter Fuel Allowance. If you qualify, you could get between £100 and £300 to go towards your heating and fuel costs. Most payments will get paid into your bank account or building society automatically between November and December.
For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
2) Cold Weather Payment
The Cold Weather Payment is another government funded scheme that provides additional payments if you are already claiming certain benefits such as Pension Credit, Income Support or Universal Credit when the temperature falls below freezing.
During winter, if the temperature in your area is recorded or is forecasted to be 0 degrees or below for 7 days in a row you will receive a payment of £25.
For further details, visit: https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
3) Affordable Warmth Grant
The affordable warmth grant scheme, packaged by the government, can help with the costs of home improvements including a new boiler or insulation to reduce your heating bills over winter.
Visit the Affordable Warmth Grant website to see who can qualify.
4) Warm Home Discount Scheme
This government funded scheme entitles you to up to £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2017/18. Unlike the Winter Fuel Allowance and Cold Weather Payments, this isn’t paid directly to you. Instead, this is a one-off discount on your electricity bill from September to March.
To qualify you’ll need to receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit or fall below a certain income bracket.
To find out if you can qualify, go to https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
5) Spread the Warmth
Age UK’s ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign was set to build awareness of the struggles the older generation can face during the winter months. This campaign encourages family and friends to look out and support the elderly in winter to prevent the serious illnesses the cold weather can bring.