Predictions of a tough winter with rising fuel costs are at the front of many people’s minds, but especially the elderly. Energy bills are due to go up again in October which means that warming up the house will be much more expensive than it was last year1. However, the Government is offering a number of winter benefits to those who are eligible.
According to the British Heart Foundation, lower temperatures can increase the risk of illness, including heart attacks, strokes, flu and pneumonia – especially for those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly2. The World Health Organisation advises that dwellings should be heated to at least 18C over the winter months3 – but these costs can add up quickly and in dire circumstances, many elderly people might have to choose between heating and eating, if some of the more vocal tabloids are to be believed. Regardless of the severity in real terms, the elderly on fixed incomes are going to be the most likely to be affected and it those which the government is targeting with a range of benefits.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free benefit available to anyone born on or before September 25, 1956. Eligible Britons can get between £250 to £600 depending on age and personal circumstances to put towards heating costs.4
Most eligible households will get the payment automatically, but people may need to claim it if they don’t receive any benefits or a state pension.
To claim, call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160 or visit the Government website https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Cold Weather Payment
Cold Weather Payments are paid automatically to those eligible, based on a person’s benefits and the temperature in their area5. https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Affordable Warmth Obligation (ECO)
The Affordable Warmth Obligation helps those on low incomes keep their homes warm, various domestic energy suppliers may fund certain energy-saving improvements6.
Those who claim certain benefits and live in either private or social housing may get support, including insulation improvements and boiler replacements or repairs. https://www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation
1 – Tapper, J. (2022) Energy price rises: what will happen to UK households on 1 October? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/sep/25/energy-price-rises-what-will-happen-to-uk-households-on-1-october (Accessed 26/09/22)
2 – British Heart Foundation (2022) Will cold weather affect my heart condition? Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/practical-support/will-cold-weather-affect-my-heart-condition (Accessed 26/09/22)
3 – Gov.uk (2022) Minimum Home Temperature Thresholds for Health in Winter. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/776497/Min_temp_threshold_for_homes_in_winter.pdf (Accessed 26/09/22)
4 – Gov.uk (2022) Winter Fuel Payment. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment (Accessed 26/09/22)
5 – Gov.uk (2022) Cold Weather Payment. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment (Accessed: 26/09/22)
6 – Gov.uk (2022) Help from your energy supplier: the Energy Company Obligation. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation (Accessed 26/09/22)
All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 29 September 2022. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.