A crucial energy boost for those that need it
Help is at hand with electricity bills this autumn, says Paul Lewis
Every domestic electricity account will have a £400 discount applied in six equal instalments of £66.67 a month from October. If your monthly electricity bill is less than that, the balance will be carried forward. If you have a prepayment meter it will be applied automatically if it is a smart meter; otherwise you’ll be given vouchers.
Quarterly payers are expected to get £200 off two quarterly bills. People with more than one home will get the payment for each home. People who pay their landlord for electricity or have no electricity supply won’t get it.
The pensioner Winter Fuel Payment will be boosted by £300 per household. You will get Winter Fuel Payment in November if you were born on 25 September 1956 or earlier. Some people in care homes are not eligible.
Households on means-tested benefits will get £650 paid in two instalments in July and the autumn. To qualify for the July payment you must have been getting the benefit on 25 May. The qualifying date for the second payment hasn’t yet been revealed. The benefits are: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit (including those who just get savings credit), Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Income Support. If you just get housing benefit or council tax reduction you won’t get the payments. The 850,000 pensioner households that could get pension credit but haven’t claimed it should do so now. They won’t get the first payment but should get the second. People on contributory or New Style Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance won’t get this payment unless they also get another qualifying benefit.
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Disabled people on Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Scottish Disability Benefits and some war and service pensions for the very disabled will get a £150 payment in September.
All these are tax-free, do not affect other benefits, and do not have to be claimed. People who do not qualify for them can apply for grants to the expanded Household Support Fund run by local authorities. The way the money will be paid may vary around the UK.
Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4