If you, or someone you care for, are disabled or receive disability benefit, then you may be entitled to some form of financial help with energy bills. There are a number of different schemes and support available, depending on your eligibility.
Energy suppliers may provide a social tariff for vulnerable customers, which can include people with disabilities. Social tariffs are regulated so that they are no more expensive than a company’s lowest available tariff. If your disability benefit is not quite stretching to cover energy bills and you are struggling to cope with high energy prices, you can contact your energy supplier about their social tariff and find out if you are eligible.
If you or someone you care for are finding it difficult to keep warm in winter, you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme. With the scheme, you could receive a discount of £140 on your electricity bill for the winter of 2014/15. If entitled, the discount would be deducted from your electricity bill between October and March, rather than being paid to you directly. Read more about the warm home discount scheme.
If a period of particularly cold weather is recorded in the area where you live, you could be entitled to Cold Weather Payments. The period of cold weather must usually last for seven days or more, with an average temperature of 0oC or less. Cold Weather Payments are determined by The Department for Work and Pensions and added automatically to benefit payments of the eligible within 14 days of the cold weather spell. So, if you are eligible to receive the payment, you should do automatically. Read more about cold weather payments.
If you or someone you care for is claiming disability benefits, then you could also be entitled to a free gas safety check. The gas safety check ensures that all of your gas appliances – boiler, cooker, fire, etc – are working correctly and safely. They are usually carried out once a year. Contact your gas supplier to find out if you could receive these check-ups for free.
If you struggle to manage payments for your energy bills and you have accumulated some debt, you can contact your energy supplier about a Fuel Direct Scheme that they may offer. Fuel Direct Schemes can aid energy bill management for those receiving benefits, by taking outstanding payments directly and automatically from your benefits.
If you are in doubt about any of your entitlements concerning disability discount on utility bills, then your energy supplier should be able to help you.
If you are struggling to find the money for energy bills, it could be that you, like many people out there, are paying too much for your energy. It may well be worth your while looking at switching the suppliers. Using UKPower.co.uk’s online tools, you compare energy rates and competitive tariffs from across the market to ensure you’re getting the best deals out there.