Keeping homes warm
For those born on or before 5 April 1954, the Government qualifies you for help towards heating bill payments – between £100 and £300. The payments are tax-free and designed to help households who may be retired, more vulnerable or on a low-income by providing money towards heating costs.
Fuel costs are always higher throughout the winter period, and each year it seems as though the costs increased more than the previous. The heating allowance therefore enables households with individuals over 65 to keep warm and make heating costs more affordable, enabling them to concentrate on purchasing food, warm clothing or anything else which makes the cold weather more comfortable.
The heating allowance age is over 65, however there is more criteria to meet before you become eligible. You must:
Be born on or before 5 October 1954
Lived in the UK for the qualifying week – the week of 21 to 27 September 2020
Receiving the State Pension or another social security benefit
Most payments are made automatically between November and December 2019 – however, if you are eligible and don’t receive your allowance, you will need to make a claim. The deadline for claiming heating allowance 2020 payments is 31 March 2021 – find out more here.
If you are not eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment scheme, you may still be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment or the Warm Home Discount scheme.
How much winter allowance will I get?
The amount received on the Winter Fuel Payment depends on your age, if you live alone, if you live with other people who do or do not qualify and if you or your partner already receive specific types of income related benefits, such as:
If you are eligible for the allowance, you will receive a letter through the post informing you of how much you will receive and an estimated payment date. Although most payments are made between November and December as noted above, the latest you should receive a payment is 13 January 2021.
Be more energy conscious
Although winter won’t come back around for another few months, it pays to be energy conscious now so habits can form and encourage you to be more energy conscious come the end of the year. Smart devices such as thermostats enable us to lead more energy efficient households, as some learn, like the Nest thermostat, learn our routine to supply heat only when needed, while others don’t power the boiler unless it detects someone is home.
It also pays to ensure your boiler has been serviced before the winter months kick in. This is to ensure the boiler is working to maximum capacity and is energy efficient enough come the cold season. Without an efficient boiler, you run the risk of wasting more energy than produced, and finding your home feels a lot colder than it should. Servicing your boiler throughout Spring and Summer is often easier.
There are also smaller things you can do such as:
Only boiling as much water in the kettle as required
Turn appliances off, don’t leave on standby
Use energy-saving lightbulbs
Replace your boiler with a more energy efficient model, if your boiler is more than 7 years old