Eight ways to get help with energy bills worth up to £4,225 if you're on Universal Credit or benefits | The Sun

MILLIONS of households on Universal Credit and other benefits are entitled to thousands in free energy bill help.

A typical UK household currently pays no more than £2,500 a year under the energy price guarantee but bills will rise by £500 from April 1.

When the cap on energy bills hits £3,000 a year many will need to rely on extra cash to get by.

The exact amount that your energy bills will rise by will depend entirely on your own usage – so if you use more than the average household, expect to pay more.

While there's nothing you can do to stop these costs from rising, there is plenty of support available for those who claim Universal Credit and other benefits.

Here are eight schemes to help hard-up households with their energy bills.

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Energy supplier grants – £1,500

There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.

The British Gas Energy Trust pays hard-up households up to £1,500 – and it doesn't matter if they're not a British Gas customer.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
  • British Gas Energy Trust
  • EDF Customer Support Fund
  • E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
  • Octopus Energy Assist Fund
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund

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There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.

Cost of living payment – £900

A £900 payment will be going to millions on means-tested benefits and Universal Credit this year.

The free cash will be paid directly into bank accounts in multiple instalments after April 6.

In total, eight million families will automatically qualify for the payment.

To be eligible for the payment, households will need to be claiming at least one of the following:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
  • Universal Credit

Household Support Fund – up to £800

Hard-up households have been entitled to free cash and vouchers to help with the cost of living since October under the Household Support Fund.

Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.

And the vouchers or grants on offer vary by location and you'll have to check to see how your council will pay you.

Some councils are offering households up to £800 in free cash.

Most councils will close their applications for the scheme at the end of March but some have already shut theirs so get your applications in quickly.

Check with your local council to see what's on offer and when applications for the scheme close.

Energy bill discount – £400

Millions of households started receiving a £400 energy bill discount from October 1.

The payment is dished out by your energy supplier and split across six instalments paid between October 2022 and March 2023.

The final £67 discount will arrive before the end of March.

It's unclear if the government will announce any further direct energy bill support in its Spring Budget.

We've listed how the leading energy suppliers are paying households.

But the way you'll be paid will depend on how you pay for your energy.

For most, the payment will be automatic but those on traditional prepayment meters will need to take action.

If you're on a traditional prepayment meter, you'll be given a redeemable energy bill discount voucher or special action message (SAMs) in the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post.

Customers will then need to redeem these at their usual top-up point.

Check with your supplier to confirm how you'll receive the cash.

Disability cost of living payment – £150

Over 6.5million people on disability benefits are in line to receive a £150 cost of living payment.

You'll need to be in receipt of one of the following disability benefits to qualify:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance for adults
  • Disability Living Allowance for children
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

Payments will begin in the summer when more detail about the scheme is released by the DWP.

Pensioner cost of living payment – £150

Millions of state pensions who are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment will qualify for a £300 cost of living payment in winter 2023/24.

During last year's scheme households qualified for the previous pensioner cost of living payment if:

  • They were born on or before September 25, 1956
  • They lived in the UK for at least one day during the week "qualifying week"

Eligible individuals will not need to apply for payments, as they are made automatically.

More details on the scheme and the exact qualifying week will be released in due course.

Warm Home Discount – £150

Several energy companies offer money off bills through the Warm Home Discount scheme.

The discount, worth £150, is available to those on the lowest incomes to help with rising costs.

Households in England and Wales don't need to apply to get the cash and they'll automatically qualify if they were receiving certain benefits on or before August 21, 2022.

But in Scotland, some customers will need to apply for cash – and applications are open now.

Check with your supplier to see if you need to apply or when you can expect the cash to be paid.

Cold weather payments – £25

Low-income households can get a £25 payment when temperatures plummet.

The payment is made automatically, including to those on Universal Credit, for each seven-day period of low temperatures between November 1 and March 31.

If you receive the following benefits, you'll qualify for cold weather payments:

  • Pension credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support for mortgage interest

You may also need to meet one of the following criteria, though this depends on your circumstances:

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  • Have a disability or be in receipt of pension premium
  • Have a child who is disabled
  • Be in receipt of child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • Have a severe or enhanced disability premium
  • Be in receipt of a limited capability for work amount
  • Have a child under five living with you

Visit the government's website to find out more.

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