Warm Home Discount Scheme
Warm Home Discount is a £140 payment applied directly to your bills to help with the cost of energy over the winter months.
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What is Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is a one-off £140 payment applied to eligible customers’ electricity bills sometime between October and April. It has been designed to help reduce costs for those living on a low income or pension over the winter months.
Not all suppliers participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme, so you should bear this in mind if considering switching supplier. More suppliers are being brought into the scheme in 2019-20 and then again in 2020-21, but it is still important to check before your switch.
How much could I get?
Everyone who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount scheme will receive a £140 contribution towards their energy bills over the winter period. This will not be paid to you directly, but added as credit to your electricity account at some point between October and April.
You may be able to get the discount applied to your gas bill if you are a dual-fuel customer (a single plan for gas and electricity with the same supplier). If you use a prepayment meter, you will probably be given a top-up voucher.
Some suppliers will also offer indirect help to fuel-poor customers as part of the Warm Home Discount scheme. This can include advice on using less energy and help with reducing energy related debts.
Am I eligible for Warm Home Discount?
If your supplier participates in the Warm Home Discount scheme, you can qualify by being part of the “Core Group” or the “Broader Group”.
To be eligible for Warm Home Discount under the Core Group you must meet the following requirements on a specific date, known as the ‘qualifying date’:
- Your energy supplier is a participant in the scheme (at present, suppliers with over 250,000 UK customers are obliged to participate, but smaller companies may do so voluntarily)
- Your, or your partner’s name is on the electricity bill
- You receive the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit
If eligible for the core group, you should receive a letter from the DWP which will let you know whether you need to take any action or confirm any details with them. Usually the discount will be applied automatically without you needing to do anything.
The qualifying date is usually in July and, if you qualify, you receive a discount the following winter (so meeting the requirements in July 2019 should mean you get a discount in winter 2019-20). The exact date will be available on the Government website.
Being eligible for the broader group is slightly more complicated. You have to apply directly to your supplier for a discount and they are free to set their own rules on who they help. However, these must include certain standard criteria such as being in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance with a pensioner premium.
The mandatory criteria and guidelines are set out in the Warm Home Discount regulations.
How can I claim Warm Home Discount?
If you buy your energy from a participating supplier and are eligible for the core group, you should receive a letter confirming that you will be receiving the discount automatically. The letter may request that you phone a helpline to confirm your details, but usually you will not need to take action.
If you think you are eligible for the Core Group and have not received a letter from the DWP by December, phone the Warm Home Discount Scheme helpline on 0800 731 0214 to check. Do this as soon as possible, as the DWP may be unable to process a claim where information is given late.
Claiming for the broader group is not automatic and requires you to apply directly to your supplier. Suppliers may have slightly different qualifying criteria and application processes, so contact your supplier directly to enquire about their scheme.
Most suppliers open applications for the broader group over summer and fill places on a first come, first served basis, so it is best to contact your supplier as early as possible to get any key application dates in the diary.
What if I switch energy suppliers?
Nowadays, switching energy suppliers is simple, and switching to a better deal could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run. However, if you receive (or hope to receive) the Warm Home Discount you should bear in mind that not all suppliers participate in the scheme.
More suppliers are being brought into the scheme in 2019-20 and then again in 2020- 21, but it is still important to check before you switch.
If you are part of the core group and you switch from a participating supplier to another participating supplier, you should still receive the discount automatically.
If you switch supplier after the qualifying date but met the eligibility criteria at that time, your old supplier is responsible for making the payment, usually by sending you a cheque.
If you switched from a non-participating to a participating supplier after the qualifying date, you must make a Broader Group application even if you receive guarantee credit.
Broader group applications cannot be transferred between suppliers. This means that regardless of whether you switch to another participating supplier, you will need to resubmit your application. You may wish to check the eligibility criteria before you switch as different suppliers can set different rules. This means you may quality for the scheme with one supplier but not another.
What should I do next?
To find out whether your supplier participates in the Warm Home Discount Scheme, view participating suppliers here.
If you think you are eligible for the Core Group and have not received a letter from the DWP, phone the Warm Home Discount Scheme helpline on 0800 731 0214 to check.
If you are thinking about changing your energy supplier in order to receive a cheaper tariff, bear in mind that switching your supplier may affect your Warm Home Discount. Download our free factsheet on Getting the best energy deal to read more about how you can spend less on your energy bills.
Download our Factsheet Help with Heating Costs.
What benefits can you claim?
Do you know what benefits you are entitled to? Age UK's Benefits Calculator can help you, quickly and easily, to find out what you could be claiming.