How do the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment schemes work?

You could be eligible for help with your energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment schemes.

🕑6 minutes read

Image of a women wearing a scarf at night

With increasing energy bills, you might be worried about keeping up with your payments, especially in winter. We know that it can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. There are a number of government and supplier schemes that could be available to help you cover the cost if you’re a pensioner or in a low-income household.

These schemes could change, so keep checking back, or visit the listed websites for the latest information.

Help to pay energy debts

If you’re behind on your energy bills, you could receive support or apply for a grant to help pay them back.

Here are the energy suppliers currently offering support:

Eligibility criteria will vary from supplier to supplier. When applying, you may need to provide details about your financial situation.

Contact your energy supplier direct and ask what support is on offer.

Winter Fuel Payments

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off, tax-free payment received annually to help cover the costs of heating your home during the cold winter months.

Winter Fuel Payment eligibility

You could be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if you:

  • Were born on or before 25 September 1956.
  • Receive the State Pension or another eligible social security benefit.

Find out more about which social security benefits you’re eligible for on the government website.

How to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment

If you’ve received a Winter Fuel Payment before and are still eligible, you should receive your money automatically. You’ll also be automatically enrolled if you receive any of the eligible social security benefits.

The only time you may need to make a direct claim for the winter fuel payment is if you live outside the UK and don’t receive benefits, but are eligible in another way. You can apply directly by calling the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160.

How much is the Winter Fuel Payment?

Applying for a Winter Fuel Payment could give you access to a contribution of £250 - £600 to put towards heating your home in winter. This includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’ of £150 to £300, which is available in winter 2022-23 and winter 2023-24.

What month do I get my Winter Fuel Payment?

You should receive your Winter Fuel Payment between November and December each year. The very latest you’ll be paid will be January. If you don’t receive your payment, you can contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre online or by calling 0800 731 0160.

Warm Home Discount

Warm Home Discount What is the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount gives you £150 off your winter electricity bill between October and March. You could also get the discount on gas and electricity if you have the same supplier for both. 

Warm Home Discount eligibility

If your energy supplier is part of the Warm Home Discount scheme, then there are two ways to qualify:

  • You’re on a low income and you meet the relevant criteria with your energy supplier.
  • You have a Guarantee Credit as part of your Pension Credit.

How to apply for the Warm Home Discount

This scheme opens in November every year, so check back here or visit to find out more and apply.

Cold Weather Payment

What is the Cold Weather Payment?

If you live in an area that experiences very cold weather over winter, you might be able to get a Cold Weather Payment. These are local grants, and if you’re eligible you could get £25 for each seven-day period of freezing weather.

Cold Weather Payment eligibility 

You'll be eligible for this payment if the average temperature where you live is forecast to be, or falls below, zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row, and you receive one of these benefits:

  • Pension Credit.
  • Income Support.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Support for Mortgage Interest.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

How to apply for the Cold Weather Payment

Check back here or visit in November when this scheme reopens.

When will I get my Cold Weather Payment?

The Cold Weather Payment scheme typically runs from 1 November to the 31 March, so if you’re eligible and experience local freezing weather for a period of 7 days or more you’ll get paid during that period. Usually, payments come through within 14 working days.

Updated February 2023.

Homeowner inspiration

Inspirational ideas for big or small changes for your home.

Homeowner inspiration articles