One week warning for thousands to claim £150 energy bill help this winter – don't miss out | The Sun

THOUSANDS of energy customers could miss out on £150 in energy bill help this winter if they don't act soon.

The help is provided directly by energy suppliers through the Warm Home Discount.

To qualify, you need to claim either the guaranteed credit element of Pension Credit or a different qualifying means-tested benefit like Universal Credit.

If you weren't claiming any of these benefits on August 13, 2023, you won't be eligible for the payment.

Where someone claims a qualifying benefit, the government will assess their energy costs based on the type, age and size of property. 

You may not be considered eligible for the Warm Home Discount if you live in a more energy-efficient property for instance, even if you receive a qualifying benefit.

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But this rule doesn't apply to recipients of the guarantee credit portion of Pension Credit.

Around 850,000 pensioners are eligible for Pension Credit but not claiming it.

As well as missing out on potentially hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year from the benefit itself, they won't get the £150 Warm Home Discount payment.

However even if you weren't receiving Pension Credit on the qualifying date on August 13, there's a trick you can follow to later ensure that you get the extra cash.

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This is because your eligibility for certain benefits can be backdated.

For example, successful Pension Credit claims can be backdated by three months.

So if you make a claim now you could be in the qualifying period for the Warm Home Discount – but you'll need to do so by Friday, October 13.

The government will then issue a letter to your household to tell you if you later qualify for the scheme.

Once your eligibility is confirmed, energy providers will apply the £150 discount directly to your bill between now and the end of March 2024.

Caroline Abrahams CBE, charity director at Age UK, said: "Sadly we know energy prices will stay high this winter so it's never been more important to check whether you can claim some extra help, so you have enough money to keep warm when it gets really cold.

"The Government has put extra money aside for older people who are struggling to make ends meet, enough to make a real difference, but to get it you have to claim Pension Credit – and well over half a million pensioners are missing out just because they haven't claimed it.

"Every penny counts so we urge any older person who is feeling the pinch to contact Age UK for advice and a free benefits check. 

"A successful claim for Pension Credit would top up your weekly income, giving you the confidence to keep the heating on during the colder months ahead."

Who is eligible for Pension Credit?

It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.

This is currently rising to 66 for both men and women.

It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.

This means if you're single and move in with a partner who is younger than the state pension age, you will stop being eligible.

But if you're already receiving Pension Credit under the old system it won't stop unless your circumstances change.

To qualify, you'll need to have a weekly income of less than £201.05 for single people or £306.85 for couples.

Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:

  • Your state pension
  • Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
  • Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
  • Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
  • Earnings from a job

The calculation does not include:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Christmas bonus
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax reduction

If your income is too high to get pension credit, you may still get some savings pension credit, so it's worth checking.

How much can you get in pension credit?

There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts – here are the current rates for the tax year:

  • Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £201.05 a week if you're single and £306.85 a week for married couples.
  • Savings credit – provides extra money if you've saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £15.94 a week for a single person or £17.84 a week for a married couple.

You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.

For instance, you can get either £61.88 a week or £72.31 per week for each child or young person you're responsible for.

If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.

For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £76.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £42.75 a week.

How do I apply?

You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.

Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you'll need to be with them when they do.

You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about any income, savings and investments you have
  • Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually 3 months ago or the date you reached state pension age)

If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.

How will I be paid?

Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.

They're usually paid every four weeks.

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You'll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.

But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.

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