The Winter Fuel Payment and Warm Home Discount
Winter Fuel Payment is a non-means tested payment from the Government to help with heating costs. Most pensioner households will be able to receive it. Additionally, when the weather is especially cold for a sustained period, you may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment.
There is also a Warm Home Discount scheme – an annual payment to help with the cost of energy during the winter. It's designed to make things a bit easier for those living on a low income or pension.
You may also wish to view our information on help with the cost of living.
The Winter Fuel Payment
The payment is:
- £200 if you are under 80
- £300 if you are over 80.
However, you’ll usually get less if you live with other people who also qualify.
You may be eligible for Winter Fuel Payment if you meet all the following criteria:
- you were born on or before 25 September 1957 (to be eligible for the financial year April 2023 to March 2024 – the eligibility birth date changes every financial year).
- you lived in the UK throughout a qualifying week (usually during September).
You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you receive the State Pension or another benefit, such as Pension Credit (but not Housing Benefit, Universal Credit or the Council Tax Reduction Scheme).
If you qualify, but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim.
If this is the first year you can claim, or if you’ve never claimed before, call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160. You'll need to know your National Insurance number and your bank or building society details.
You only need to claim once. After this, you should automatically receive a payment every year, as long as your circumstances don’t change. Most payments are made between November and December.
Our factsheet, Help with heating costs in Wales, has further information on the Winter Fuel Payment.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount is a one-off payment of £150 to reduce eligible customers’ bills over the winter months.
Getting a Warm Home Discount doesn't affect your entitlement to a Winter Fuel Payment or Cold Weather Payment.
The money won't be paid to you directly – it'll be added as credit to your electricity account. This usually happens between October and April (you might be able to get the discount applied to your gas bill if you're a dual-fuel customer – i.e. you have a combined plan for gas and electricity with the same supplier).
If you use a prepayment meter, you'll probably be given a top-up voucher.
Am I eligible for the Warm Home Discount?
To qualify, you or your partner must have an account with a participating electricity supplier, and one of you must claim one of the following:
- the Guarantee Credit portion of Pension Credit; or
- a different 'qualifying benefit' (if you have high energy costs).
The qualifying benefits include the Savings Credit portion of Pension Credit and Housing Benefit. If you claim one of these, the government will assess your energy costs based on the type, age and size of your property. If you think the assessment is inaccurate, you can challenge it.
If you're worried about rising energy costs, check you're claiming all the benefits you're entitled to. Claiming certain benefits can make you eligible for Warm Home Discount.
In winter 2023-24, most eligible households will get the Warm Home Discount automatically.
This is different from previous years, when you had to claim the money from your supplier if you weren't claiming the Guarantee Credit portion of Pension Credit.
To decide whether you get the discount, the government will look at your circumstances on a specific date, known as the 'qualifying date'. This is normally in July.
What if I switch energy suppliers?
If your electricity supplier isn't part of the Warm Home Discount scheme, you could consider switching to a participating supplier. But switching may not actually save you money, depending on the deal you're offered. Equally, a new supplier you're considering switching to might not participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme, so it's important to factor that in if you currently receive it.
Seek the latest impartial advice first – for example, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
To find out which suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount Scheme, view participating suppliers here.
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98