The Warm Home discount: What is it?

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The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme that can help vulnerable energy consumers to save money on their energy bills during the coldest months of the year. Unlike other benefits like the Winter Fuel Payment, the Warm Home Discount is not means-tested. Everyone who is eligible gets the same amount. This is a flat £140 which is deducted from your energy bill before the 31st of March. Here, we’ll answer all of your questions about the Warm Home Discount.
Last update: June 2022

As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage driving up costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated on a daily basis you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.

Starting with the obvious: Who is eligible for this discount? Does it affect your entitlement to other discounts and benefits like the Cold Weather Payment or the Winter Fuel Payment? And how can you apply for the Warm Home Discount through your chosen energy supplier?

What is the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is a government scheme that is run in conjunction with energy providers of all shapes and sizes (although it’s mostly offered by the larger suppliers).

The scheme was introduced by David Cameron’s Conservative government in April 2011 and is designed to combat fuel poverty. It helps the most vulnerable in our society to keep their homes warm during the cold winter months from September to March, without having to worry about their bills. The Warm Home Discount was actually supposed to end on 31 March 2015. Nonetheless, it has been extended multiple times as many low-income households (predominantly those of pensionable age) still struggle with the cost of heating their homes.

Larger energy suppliers are legally obliged to offer the Warm Home Discount to customers. Nonetheless, lots of smaller suppliers still offer it voluntarily. Whoever currently supplies energy to your home, there’s a good chance that they participate in the Warm Home Discount scheme.

If not, the Papernest team can help you to find a cheaper, greener energy supplier that does. So, why wait until winter to save money when you can get in touch with us today?

Warm Home Discount scheme amount

Unlike other benefits like the Winter Fuel Payment, the Warm Home Discount is not calculated based on your revenues. Every person who is eligible across the country will get the same amount: £140 which is deducted from your energy bill before the 31st of March.

Warm Home Discount and prepayment meters

The great thing about the Warm Home Discount is that it’s available to anyone who’s eligible, regardless of what fuels power their homes and what meters measure their usage.

As such, you can still qualify for the Warm Home Discount if you have a prepayment meter. It also doesn’t matter if you use electricity or a combination of electricity and gas. Different suppliers apply the Warm Home Discount in different ways for prepayment customers. However, the payment usually comes in the form of a voucher that can be used to top up your credit meter.

Warm Home Discount scheme and the Winter Fuel Payment: The same thing?

Sometimes, people use the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payment (or Winter Fuel Allowance) interchangeably. However, they are separate benefits with different eligibility criteria. The amounts paid are different and the way in which it is paid to applicants is also different. The Winter Fuel Payment, in turn is different to the Cold Weather Payment.

warm home discount

So… what is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Cold Weather Payment is available to all UK citizens of retirement age who need help with their fuel costs during winter. As long as you are resident within the UK during the “qualifying week” of 21 to 27 September, and claim a pension, you can apply.

However, the amount that you can claim will depend on your age and circumstances. Unlike the Warm Home Discount, this is a benefit paid into your bank account rather than a reduction on your bill.

And what is the Cold Weather Payment?

The Cold Weather Payment is available to those claiming certain means-tested benefits. It is designed to help with heating costs when temperatures get very low during winter. If the temperature in your area drops to zero degrees celsius or below from 1st November to 31st March, you may be eligible for a payment of £25 per week.

Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount?

There are two kinds of energy consumers that qualify for the Warm Home Discount. There are people in what’s known as the “core group” and people in what’s called the “broader group”. These terms can be confusing, so let’s take a look at whether or not you qualify for the Warm Home Discount.

Do pensioners qualify for a Warm Home Discount?

Yes. If you are on pension credit on the qualifying date (5th July) and you are also the main account holder in your home, you are in the “core group”. This means that you’re automatically be eligible to apply. Your supplier will usually write to you in October when they’re ready to receive applications. However, if you believe that your supplier may have overlooked you, it’s worth contacting them to check that they offer the scheme.

You are likely to be awarded a Warm Home Discount if you meet both of the following criteria:

  • You are either the main account holder (or their spouse) on the qualifying date.
  • You get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

You are don’t have to receive the Savings Credit to be eligible for the Warm Home Discount.

Do people with low-income qualify for a Warm Home Discount?

In some cases, yes. People on certain income-related benefits fall into what is known as the “broader group”. This means that you are classified as a low-income household, making you more vulnerable than most energy consumers during the winter months.

However, here’s where things get a little more complicated.

Every supplier has a slightly different criteria for the “broader group”, so it’s worth checking with yours. In most cases, it means that you are in receipt of means-tested benefits, including:

  • Income support.
  • Income based Jobseekers’ Allowance.
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (including a work-related activity or support component).
  • Low-income elements of Universal Credit.

Your benefits must also include at least one of the following:

  • Disabled child element.
  • Disability or pensioner premium.
  • Child element for children aged 5 or under.

How is low-income defined for the Warm Home Discount?

Energy suppliers generally consider a household low-income if its gross annual household income does not exceed £16,190. However, suppliers will also expect you to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You have a mental or physical disability or illness.
  • You are of pensionable age.
  • You have a child aged 5 or under living in the house full-time.
  • You spend at least 10% of all household income on energy bills to heat the home.

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At what age do you qualify for Warm Home Discount / Winter Fuel Payment?

If you’re in the “broader group” your age isn’t necessarily a factor. However, in the core group,you qualify for the Warm Home Discount when you reach pension age. In 2021 this will be 66 for both men and women.

Can I get a Cold Weather Payment if I have the Warm Home Discount?

Yes. You can be eligible for other benefits like the Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payment, even if you also qualify for the Warm Home Discount. Likewise, if you find that you are not eligible for the Warm Home Discount, you may still want to apply for one of these other benefits.

Which suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount?

Energy suppliers are legally obliged to offer the Warm Home Discount as soon as they have over 250,000 customers. This means that if your energy is supplied by one of the “Big 6” https://www.papernest.co.uk/energy/suppliers/, you can definitely apply for the Warm Home Discount.

For the uninitiated, the “Big 6” are:

  • British Gas
  • E.On
  • EDF
  • N Power
  • Scottish Power
  • SSE / OVO

However, there are also a number of smaller suppliers that participate in the scheme on a voluntary basis. What’s more, you may find that you pay less for your energy with a smaller supplier, even before factoring in the Warm Home Discount. The Papernest team are always on hand to help you find the best-value energy supplier and plan for your money.

Smaller suppliers that are known to offer the Warm Home Discount include:

  • Affect Energy
  • Avro Energy
  • Boost Power
  • Bristol Energy
  • Bulb
  • Co-operative Energy
  • Ecotricity
  • Green Energy
  • iSupply Energy
  • London Power
  • Lumo
  • M&S Energy
  • Octopus Energy
  • Powershop
  • Pure Planet
  • Qwest Energy
  • Ram Energy
  • Roar Power
  • Sainsbury’s Energy
  • Shell Energy
  • So Energy
  • Spark Energy
  • Symbio Energy
  • Utilita
  • Utility Point
  • Utility Warehouse.

Applying for the Warm Home Discount in 2021

The Warm Home Discount can be invaluable in the winter months, helping you to save on the cost of heating your home and keeping you safe, warm, comfortable and healthy.

But how do you apply?

I meet the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria. How do I apply?

You apply for the Warm Home Discount through your supplier. The application process is fairly quick and easy. On your supplier’s website there is usually a link to an application form. In most cases, your supplier will write to you if you are eligible, telling you how you can apply.

Please note that the government budget for the Warm Home Discount is limited, and suppliers offer the discount on a first-come-first-served basis. So, if you feel that you meet the eligibility criteria, it’s best to be proactive and get in touch with your supplier as soon as possible.

When can you apply for a Warm Home Discount in 2021?

The application process for the Warm Home Discount usually opens in October. Your energy account is usually credited between January and March of the following year. However, it is unclear when, or if, applications will open in 2021.

Is the warm home discount scheme ending?

That remains to be seen. The regulations for the Warm Home Discount technically end in March 2021. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope of the scheme being extended. In October 2020, a consultation took place to determine whether the scheme should be carried forward for 2021 / 2022.

The consultation concluded that the scheme should continue in order to protect the financially vulnerable. However, it looks as though changes are likely to be made to the scheme. The government will announce the changes that have been made no later than June 2021.

Does your supplier offer the Warm Home Discount?

Some suppliers argue that they don’t need to offer the Warm Home Discount because their prices are cheaper than the larger suppliers already. While this may technically be true, the Papernest team can help you to get the best of both worlds.

If your supplier doesn’t offer the Warm Home Discount, we can help you to find one that does. What’s more, we can find you a tariff that also offers cheaper energy all year round. So you can make double the savings.

We’ll even manage your switch for you, so you can get faster access to cheaper energy.

Want to know more?

Call us today on 0330 818 6225.

We’re available from 8am to 6pm.

Would you like to know more about government energy grants? Great! Check out these related articles.

  1. Green homes Grant
  2. Cold Weather Payment
  3. Winter Fuel Payment

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FAQ

How much is the Warm Home Discount in 2021?

Warm Home Discount is £140 regardless of your means and revenues.

Do seniors get a discount on electricity?

Yes. If you’re of pension age, you more than likely qualify for the Warm Home Discount, which gives you a flat deduction of £140 on the cost of your winter heating. Seniors may also qualify for other benefits including the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment.

What month do I get my Winter Fuel Payment?

Both the Winter Fuel Payment and Warm Home Discount are usually credited between January and March. Payment is made no later than the 31st March.

What is the core group for Warm Home Discount?

The core group includes anyone who gets the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

How much is the Winter Fuel Payment in 2021?

That depends on your age and circumstances. In 2020-2021, the amount ranged between £100 and £300. However, that may be different in 2021-2022.

Who gets winter fuel in 2021?

When it comes to the Winter Fuel Payment, anyone of pension age is eligible, regardless of your income or whether you also claim the Warm Home Discount.

Updated on 16 Jun, 2022

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