How to apply for £300 to help pay energy bills

HOUSEHOLDS struggling to pay their heating bills could get up to £300 to help cover the costs.

The tax-free payments start at £100 and how much you get depends on your age and whether you claim certain benefits.

Here's everything you need to know:

What is the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free benefit to help with heating costs through the cold months.

Most people who are eligible for it get it automatically, for instance if you receive the state pension or other social security benefits.

You won't qualify just because you claim housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or Universal Credit.

How to save on your energy bills

SWITCHING energy providers can sound like hassle – but fortunately it’s pretty straight forward to change supplier – and save lots of cash.

Shop around – If you're on an SVT deal you are likely throwing away more than £300 a year. Use a comparion site such as, uSwitch or to see what deals are available to you.

The cheapest deals are usually found online and are fixed deals – meaning you'll pay a fixed amount usually for 12 months.

Switch – When you've found one, all you have to do is contact the new supplier.

It helps to have the following information – which you can find on your bill –  to hand to give the new supplier.

  • Your postcode
  • Name of your existing supplier
  • Name of your existing deal and how much you pay
  • An up-to-date meter reading

It will then notify your current supplier and begin the switch.

It should take no longer than three weeks to complete the switch and your supply won't be interrupted in that time.

If you meet the criteria but don't automatically get the payment then you will need to apply.

The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2020 to 2021 is 31 March 2021.

People qualify for a winter fuel payment if both of the following apply:

  • you were born on or before October 5, 1954
  • you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 21 to 27, 2020 – this is called the "qualifying week"

If you did not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both the following apply:

  • you live in Switzerland or a EEA country
  • you have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK and having a family in the UK

But there are exclusions – you can’t get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain.

This is because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

You will not qualify if you:

  • are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
  • need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you can not claim public funds
  • were in prison for the whole week between 21 to 27 September 2020
  • lived in a care home for the whole time between 29 June to 27 September 2020, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

You may still be able to get the cold weather payment or apply for the warm home discount scheme, even if you don't qualify for winter fuel allowance.

How much can I get?

The winter fuel payment is worth between £100 and £300 depending on your age, whether you receive benefits and whether you live alone.

For example, if live alone and were born before October 5, 1954, you are entitled to £200 towards the cost of your bills.

But those who are born before September 20, 1940, will be able to claim up to £300.

See the table below for more details on how much you can get:

Your payment may be different if you or your partner get one of the following benefits:

  • pension credit
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • income support

Here's how much you can claim in these scenarios:

Any money you get will not affect your other benefits.

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, such as a bank account.

Visit the Department for Work and Pensions website for more details.

Automatic payments are usually made between November and December, and you should get yours by January 13, 2021 at the latest.

If you haven't got your payment by then, you need to call the office that pays your benefits. You should be able to find the details on letters they have sent you.

How to get help paying your energy bills this winter – and save over £1,000.

From discounts to bonus payments, here’s four tips and tricks to keep your heating bill under control this winter.

What is the Warm Home Discount and how do you get £140 towards your electricity bill?

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