Do you struggle to pay for your winter electricity bills? You may be eligible for help under the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme.
What is the Warm Home Discount scheme?
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a government initiative that will grant you a one-off, annual rebate if you face fuel poverty, helping to pay for your winter electricity bills
. For example, in 2018/19 the rebate was £140. You will typically receive the rebate in March, at the end of the winter.
How Do You Know If You Are Eligible?
Firstly, you should check if your energy supplier
participates in the scheme, as not all of them do. When you are sure of their involvement in the scheme, you can consider whether you yourself are eligible for the discount.
There are two different categories of people who qualify. The first, known as the ‘core’ group, refers to pensioners. If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you will be considered automatically for the scheme, and can expect to receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions confirming your eligibility in the autumn.
The second category is known as the ‘broader’ group and refers to individuals who are not pensioners, but who receive a low income. To be considered, you will have to meet the criteria of your energy supplier.
The exact requirements vary between providers, but generally you will receive income support or child tax credit in addition to some further conditions - being the full-time carer of a child under five, for example. Your first step should therefore be to seek the exact criteria outlined by your energy provider, by visiting their website or contacting them directly.
If you live in a park home, and meet the above criteria, you can apply for the Park Home WHD scheme.
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How Do You Claim the Discount?
If you are in the ‘core’ group and receive the letter of eligibility, look for a reference letter in the top right hand corner of the letter. If you see an ‘M’, great - you don’t have to do anything and your discount will be issued automatically. But f you see a ‘U’, don’t panic - this just means that the DWP is not certain of your energy provider.
Their contact number will be in the letter so you can give them a call with your electricity bill on hand and tell them your electricity account number and Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN). Make sure to do this quite promptly, as if you do not ring before the date outlined in the letter, you won’t receive the rebate. If you believe you are eligible but do not receive a letter, you can contact the Warm Home Discount Team on 0800 731 0214.
If you believe you are in the ‘broader’ group, and have established that your energy supplier
participates in the scheme, you will need to fill out an application. Details of the process will likely be found on the website of your provider - if not, give them a call and ask for guidance.
They will require details of your household income and the benefits you currently receive. If you do not know or are unsure of the benefits you are receiving, you can contact Job Centre Plus.
Energy suppliers often deal with applications on a first-come first-serve basis, and only review a limited amount of applications, so apply as early as you can. Bear in mind that if you switch energy supplier
between sending off an application and receiving the discount, you will need to reapply, as applications cannot be transferred from one provider to another.