With soaring energy bills dominating the media, it’s all too easy to despair. But there are schemes to help, and you’ll need to apply for some of them very soon.
Pension Credit – apply by Thursday 18 August!
If you’re a pensioner on a low income you may be able to claim the government’s £650 cost-of-living payment. Announced in May, this will be paid to people in receipt of Pension Credit (and other qualifying benefits) in two lump sums of £326 and £324. To qualify for the first lump sum, pensioners must have been entitled to a Pension Credit payment in the period 26 April – 25 May 2022. Claims can be backdated, so long as you apply by 18 August.
Pension Credit (which is separate to the State Pension) may also entitle you to other additional support including:
- A Cold Weather Payment of £25, paid automatically when the average temperature is 0°C or below over seven consecutive days
- £140 off your winter electricity bill thorough the Warm Home Discount Scheme (if eligible)
- A free TV licence (if over-75)
- Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital
- Help with Council Tax and rent
- Cheaper phone and home broadband deals
- Reduced water bills
- An extra amount of Pension Credit for some carers worth up to £37.70 a week.
To make a claim for Pension Credit, call the DWP Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim
For full details on Pension Credit and a handy guide to other help for households plus a benefits calculator, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment#disability-cost-of-living-payment
You’ll also find links to local sources of support, including:
- help from the Household Support Fund from your local council in England
- the Discretionary Assistance Fund in Wales
- a Crisis Grant or Community Care Grant in Scotland
- Discretionary Support or a Short-term Benefit Advance in Northern Ireland
Disability Cost of Living Payment
You may get a lump sum payment of £150 if you’re getting any of the following:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
You must have received a payment (or later receive a payment) of one of these qualifying benefits for 25 May 2022 to get the payment.
If you get a qualifying disability benefit from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and a qualifying disability benefit from DWP, you will get a Disability Cost of Living Payment from DWP only.
If you receive a Disability Cost of Living Payment, but we later find that you were not eligible for it, you may have to pay it back.
When you’ll get paid
You’ll get the payment from September 2022. Payments will be made to people who get a qualifying disability from DWP before payments to people who get a qualifying benefit from the Ministry of Defence.
For more info on the Disability Cost of Living Payment, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment#disability-cost-of-living-payment
Help from Energy Suppliers
Did you know the British Gas Energy Trust may be able to help you clear a debt of up to £1500 if you’ve fallen behind with your energy bills, even if you’re not one of their customers? There’s support on offer from other energy companies, too. For a full rundown, plus lots more brilliant advice, information and links, please go to Money Saving Expert’s Household Bills page.
For advice on using energy efficiently, please visit https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/energy-saving-tips/
For a more social approach, Energy Support and Advice UK is a Facebook group with more than 30,000 highly active members sharing advice and tips.
Support from PSPA
Don’t forget, the PSPA Helpline is always on hand, too, to guide you towards the most up to date advice and info. You can email, or phone us on 0300 0110 122. Most of all, please don’t despair. We’re all in this together, and there’s definitely help out there for those in need.