Help is at hand for people struggling with fuel insecurities
As winter begins to bite, The Highland Council is urging residents in the region not to suffer in silence if they are finding it hard to pay their fuel bills. There are many reasons why people can’t pay their fuel bills. You might hear this referred to as ‘Fuel Insecurities’.
Depending upon household circumstances, you may qualify for extra financial support during the winter, these include
- UK Government’s 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.
- UK Government’s Cold Weather Payment: A Cold Weather payment is a £25 payment to help with fuel costs during periods of very cold weather. The period of cold weather must cover seven consecutive days, between 1 November and 31 March, when the average temperature must be zero degrees Celsius or below. The £25 can be paid multiple times if the 7 consecutive day criteria are met.
- The Warm Home Discount scheme: The Warm Home Discount scheme (WHDS) offers a one-off payment of £140 (inclusive of VAT) towards the energy bills of those who need it most. The scheme is managed by energy suppliers and the money isn’t paid directly to the customer; it is a one-off discount that is credited to the customer’s energy account, prepayment card or key, during the winter.
- Scottish Government’s Child Winter Heating Assistance: The Child Winter Heating Assistance is a new £200 payment to help families of a child on the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance for Children to heat their homes.
Don’t miss out, find out. Getting in touch with the Council’s Welfare Team is the first step to maximising your potential income and managing your money well. The Welfare Support Team provide free, impartial and confidential support to claim all benefits and entitlements. Alternatively, you can also get help and advice on benefit and money advice issues, and fuel insecurities from your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).
Depute Leader of Highland Council and Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie, explained: “It’s important that people make sure they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to. The Council’s Welfare Support Team is ready to support you on freephone 0800 090 1004 and Citizens Advice Bureau can also give free advice for anyone having problems paying their fuel bills.”