Help with the Cost of Living

Help with energy bills

Winter Fuel Payment

A Winter Fuel payment is a one-off, tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 made during the winter to help with heating costs; it is made to households with someone over Pension Credit age. Most payments are made automatically during November and December. If someone applies for the first time, they will receive their payment by Christmas. The amount a household will receive each winter can vary according to their personal circumstances. For example, age or other people living in the house who are also eligible can increase the eligible amount.

Further information on the winter fuel payment

The Warm Home Discount Scheme

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2022 and March 2023.

Further information on the warm home discount

Social Security Scotland

Child Winter Heating Assistance

Child Winter Heating Assistance is a payment for children and young people up to the age of 18. To get the payment they must meet two criteria on at least one day in the third full week of September (called the "qualifying week"). On that day they must if they're under 19 years old and get one of the following 'qualifying benefits':

  • the highest rate of the care component of Child Disability Payment
  • the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
  • the enhanced daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment
  • be resident in Scotland

If there is more than one child or young person in your household who qualifies, they will all get the payment. In 2022, the payment will be £214.10 per eligible child.

Further information on Child Winter Heating assistance

Low Income Winter Heating Assistance

A guaranteed annual winter heating benefit of £50 will be paid for the first time in February 2023 to low income households and replaces the UK Government’s Cold Weather Payments.

An individual may be eligible to receive Low Income Winter Heating Assistance if they are in receipt of any of Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and Support for Mortgage Interest. As with the current Cold Weather Payments, additional qualifying criteria for some of these benefits may also need to be satisfied, for example in relation to disability premiums paid to the client or if a disabled child is in their household.

Energy Supplier grants

Major energy suppliers provide grants to households experiencing financial difficulties. For example, EDF, E.on Next and Scottish Power are among those offering support to their own customers, while British Gas's hardship scheme is available to customers of other suppliers too.

Most of the help offered is in the form of a non-repayable grant that goes towards reducing energy debts. This could be vital for struggling households, there are not standardised schemes offered across the sector, so whether your supplier offers support, who qualifies, and how much you'll get varies.

Further information: Contact your supplier to check if you are eligible.

Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme

The Scottish Government has awarded funding to help us deliver energy efficiency programmes in the Highlands as part of the Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme (EES:ABS).

The area based programmes aim to:

  • Target fuel-poor areas
  • Offer insulation measures (Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation)
  • Heat your property through an Air Source Heat Pump
  • Offer solar PV and battery storage

Funding is available from the Scottish Government for the installation of measures.

  • Scottish Government Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme (EES:ABS) grant – is based on property eligibility criteria

Air Source Heat Pump, Cavity Wall, Loft Insulation, Solar PV and Battery Storage

These measures are eligible for:

  • Scottish Government EES:ABS grant

An owner's contribution may be required to cover the remainder of the cost for installation.

Scottish Southern and Electricity Networks (SSEN) Assistance 

As part of SSEN's support package, customers who will be without power for more than 12 hours are entitled to £30 per person for every day without power, to cover the cost of food and drink. People should keep hold of their receipts and claim costs on the SSEN website.

Customers on SSEN Priority Service Register can claim reasonable costs for alternative accommodation if it is expected they will be without power for over 24 hours. Support with booking accommodation can be provided if needed. More information and details on how to sign up for priority services can be found at Priority services - SSEN