For many carers, paying energy bills can be a struggle, especially in the current circumstances, and there may be times when they have to choose between heating their home and buying food, so it is important to be aware of the help that is there to ease the financial pressure. 

There are a number of grants and schemes available to help improve your home’s energy efficiency and to enable you to ensure it is adequately heated, but it is sometimes difficult to know if you qualify, and how to go about applying so we have provided information below that will hopefully answer some of the questions. 

This is a one-off, tax free payment made during the winter to help with heating costs. It is made to households that include someone over State pension age and can vary between £100 and £300 depending on your circumstances. 

Am I eligible? 

if you were born on or before 5th October 1954 and were living in Britain for at least one day during the qualifying week (21st -27th September 2020) you should be entitled to a payment. 

If you are living in a care home, you might still qualify but will get a reduced amount. 

How much will I get? 

The amount varies depending on whether you are over 80 or not, living on your own or with a partner and in receipt of certain means tested benefits such as Pension Credits, Income-related ESA or Income-based JSA. All the information on amounts can be found on the government website at 

How do I claim? 

Most people do not have to make a claim for a Winter Fuel Payment as it should be paid automatically if you received a payment last year and your circumstances haven’t changed, or if you are in receipt of State Pension, Pension Credits or one of the other qualifying benefits* 

If for some reason, you are not in receipt of any benefits but meet the age and residence requirements, you can make a claim by calling: 0800 731 0160. 

You will need your national insurance number, the date of your marriage and your bank details. Payment should be made into your bank account 3 months after you make your claim. The deadline for apply this year is 31st March 2021. 

This is a payment made by the DWP designed to help pay for extra heating costs when the temperature recorded (or forecast) in your area over a 7-day period is 0 degrees or less. 

Do I qualify? 

You will automatically qualify if you are in receipt of certain benefits including: 

  • Pension credits 
  • Income support * 
  • Income based job seeker’s allowance * 
  • Income related employment and support allowance * 
  • Child tax credit (with a disabled child element) 
  • Universal credit if you have a child under 5, or are deemed unfit for work 
  • You are entitled to support for mortgage interest loan. 

*With IS, ESA, and JSA you have to be responsible for a child under 5, or in receipt of a disabled child element on your tax credits, or a disability or pensioner premium. 

How much will I get? 

The payment is £25 for each qualifying week. 

How do I claim? 

If you are in receipt of one of the above benefits on one day of the qualifying week, you should automatically receive the payment. 

This is a new benefit from the Scottish Government to help families with severely disabled children cope with the extra costs of heating their home during the winter. 

It is a payment of £200 for children and young people up to the age of 18 who meet the criteria in the qualifying week, which was the third full week in September 2020. 

If more than one child in the house qualifies, they will each get the payment. 

Do I qualify? 

– Your child must be resident in Scotland during the qualifying week 

– They must be in receipt of the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance 

If your child was awarded DLA after 20th October 2020 but they payments were backdated to 21st September, you should still qualify for the benefit. 

How do I apply? 

Child Winter Heating Allowance should be paid automatically into the same account as your Disability Living Allowance. You should have received a letter in November/December before your payment was made telling you when to expect it. 

If you believe you should have received it but didn’t, disagree with a decision, would like to tell them about a change in circumstances, you can contact Social Security Scotland by free phone, web chat or post. 

Freephone: 0800 182 2222 

Webchat: contactSCOTLAND app if you are a British Sign Language User 

By post: Social Security Scotland, General Enquiries, PO Box 10301, Dundee, DD1 9FY 

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is available through most major energy suppliers and could entitle you to £140 off your electricity bill between the months of September and March. You may be able to ask for the money to be taken off your gas bill instead if your energy company supplies you with both. It is a one- off payment and the money is taken off your bill rather than paid directly to you. You can still receive the discount if you use a pre-payment meter as your energy supplier can arrange for you to receive a voucher instead. 

Do I qualify? 

In order to qualify for the discount, by 5th July 2020, you should have been: 

  • In receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit 
  • Living on a ‘low income’ 
  • In receipt of certain means-tested benefits 

How do I apply? 

If your energy supplier is part of the scheme, and you are in receipt of Pension Credit, you should have received a letter between October and December 2020 telling you to apply for the discount by 26th February 2021. The discount should be applied to your bill by 31st March 2021. 

If you are in receipt of Pension Credits and haven’t received a letter, you can call the Warm Discount Team on 0800 731 0214 to find out why. 

If you consider yourself to be living on a low income, you should contact your energy supplier to find out if you qualify. Each supplier has different criteria, so you will have to speak to them to find out what they are. 

This scheme is open to homeowners and private sector tenants who have lived in their property for at least 12 months and meet the qualifying conditions. In order to find out what services you are eligible for, your property will have to be surveyed, and in most cases, the cost of the measures identified will be covered by the Scottish Government. The assessment will consider factors such as they age and efficiency of any existing heating system. 

Some of the measures they offer include: 

  • Wall and loft insulation 
  • Central Heating (including new gas boilers) 
  • Draught proofing 
  • Renewables 

Do I qualify? 

In order to qualify you must meet one of the following conditions: 

* You must of pensionable age and in receipt of a passport benefit* 

* Be aged over 75 and in receipt of a passport benefit 

* Be pregnant and/or have a child under 16 and in receipt of a passport benefit 

* Have a disability and be in receipt of any level of Personal Independence Payment or the higher rate of DLA (care or mobility component) 

* Have a disability and be in receipt of low/medium rate DLA care or mobility and an income-related benefit 

* Be in receipt of Armed Forces Independence Payment/War Disablement Pension 

* Be in receipt of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit 

Passport Benefits: the following benefits are considered ‘passport benefits’ for the purpose of applying for the grants: 

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Element 
  • Attendance Allowance 
  • Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance (high-rate care or mobility) 
  • Carer’s Allowance 
  • Universal Credit or any of the benefits replaced by UC including Income Support, Income based JSA, Income based ESA, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit 
  • Council Tax Reduction 
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment 
  • War Disablement Pension 
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit 

If you would like more information on the Warmer Homes scheme, you can either call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or visit the Energy Saving Trust website at 

This scheme opened in May 2017 and is available to owner occupiers (and private landlords) for energy efficiency improvements, home renewables systems or gas connection. The loan can be up to £32,500 per home and is available on a first come, first served basis depending on funds. 

There is more information on the eligible energy efficiency measures and loan repayment periods on the Energy Saving Trust Scotland website (details above) 

There are also Area Based Schemes which are partly funded by the Scottish Government and run by local authorities to provide help to families struggling to pay fuel bills. The measures could include help with cavity wall insulation and heating systems. Call Home Energy Scotland for more information. 

Grants to help with energy debts 

If you are in debt to your energy supplier, you might be eligible for help from a charitable trust to help pay it off. When you apply for a grant, you will have to provide detailed information about your financial situation, so it is a good idea to ask for help. It is useful to show that you have taken debt advice first to help you address the problem and the Citizens Advice Bureau can help with both this and completing the form. 

The charity Charis Grants can also help with these applications and might also be able to provide assistance with white goods. 

The following energy companies offer grants and schemes to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer: 

  • British Gas Energy Trust 
  • Eon Energy Trust 
  • EDF Energy Trust 

Other companies offer grants specifically for their own customers including: 

  • Npower Energy Fund 
  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund 
  • Ovo Energy Fund 
  • SSE Priority Assistance Fund 

You need to contact these companies directly to find out if you qualify. 

Useful Contacts 

For information about Cold Weather Payments, Warm Home Discount Scheme, Winter Fuel Allowance and any other issues relating to hating your home, phone Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. Alternatively, you can visit the Energy Saving Trust at 

For help with debt issues relating to energy supply, you can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0345 404 0506 or visit the website at

You can also visit Charis Grants at 


SP Energy Networks’ job is to make sure that you have electricity 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

When you don’t have electricity, their teams of dedicated engineers will ensure that power is restored to you as quickly as possible, even in the worst of weather conditions. Just to clarify, SP Energy Networks is not the same company that you pay your energy bills to – that is your energy supplier.

SP Energy Networks recognise that unpaid carers and the person they care for may need a little extra help during times where power is disrupted.

it is important that they know who you are, where you are and what help you may need. They have a Priority Services Register for customers who may just need a little extra help. This ensures that they have your information to hand and can help you as quickly as possible.


SP Energy Networks also understands that some Priority Services Register Customers may

benefit from additional services.

All of these services are provided free of charge by partner organisations and may help you save money, feel safer and warmer in your home or help you deal with things just a little bit easier by letting you know you are not alone.

Some of the ways SP Energy Networks can help;

  • Helping you in a power cut
  • Finding the best energy tariff
  • Energy Efficiency Advice
  • Staying Safe at Home – Home Fire Safety Checks

If you want to register with PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER or are unsure if you have signed up, please call SP ENERGY NETWORK on 0330 1010 154 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm) or email:


You can also visit the SP Energy Network site for more information on how they can help you at:

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