Warm Home Discount Scheme: Do You Qualify?

Find out if you qualify for an extra £140 to help keep warm

Could you do with an extra £140 to help you keep warm in winter 2020? If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, then you could be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which means that you could benefit from £140 off your electricity bill. We also recommend you compare energy prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal available.

Check you are on the cheapest energy tariff BEFORE you apply for the Warm Home Discount

What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

The Warm Home Discount is a government-led scheme that offers financial help to people who are having difficulty paying their energy bills during the winter months when energy tends to be more expensive.

The scheme was introduced in 2011 is planned to run until 2021. It involves the government working in partnership with the major electricity suppliers to ensure that extra support is offered to vulnerable people in the UK who are struggling to afford their energy bills.

The scheme offers a £140 rebate on energy bills to those who meet the eligibility criteria. It is not a cash payment but a one-off discount that is applied as a line on your utility bill or as extra credit or a voucher for your pre-payment meter. Your Warm Home Discount payment is controlled by your energy supplier.

The discount is separate from Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. This means that if you received either of these payments, they were unaffected by the Warm Home Discount.

How much is the Warm Home Discount?

For winter 2020/21, the discount for electricity bills is £140. The scheme will open on 12 October 2020 and, usually, the discount is applied to bills by the following spring.

Customers on prepayment or pay-as-you-go meters will receive their discounts in a different way, often through a voucher that they can use to top up their meters.

Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

You are automatically eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme if all of the following criteria apply to you:

  1. Your electricity supplier is part of the scheme.
  2. Your name, or your partner's name, is on the electricity bill.
  3. You meet either the criteria for the 'core group' or 'broader group' (detailed below).

The scheme was intended to run for ten years after it was introduced back in 2011. If the scheme is continued beyond 2021, the criteria for the Warm Home Discount Scheme and the process for applying for the discount are likely to remain consistent.

Am I eligible for a discount?

To qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme, you will need to meet specific criteria that categorise your household into one of two groups:

  1. The 'core' group
  2. The 'broader' group

There are two groups that are eligible for the Warm Home Discount because some energy suppliers have chosen to extend the scheme to customers who are on low incomes, and in some cases for customers who receive certain means-tested benefits.

Each supplier may apply a slightly different set of criteria, meaning some customers could find they are eligible with one supplier, but not with another. If you think you are part of this broader group of customers, you will need to apply to your energy company for the discount.

Warm Home Discount: Core group

If you belong to the core group, you may automatically receive the Warm Home Discount if you receive either of the following:

  1. The Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit only (not just the State Pension), or
  2. The Guarantee Credit element and the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit.

You usually won't need to do anything if you qualify, you should automatically be offered the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will send a letter to confirm if you're entitled to the discount.

Core group key discount dates

  • October-December 2020: If you qualify for the Warm Home Discount, a letter will be sent to you between these months. In the letter, you'll find details about how to get your discount.
  • 26 February 2021: Confirm your details over the phone by this date, if your letter instructs you to.
  • 31 March 2021: Your discount will be applied directly to your electricity bills by this date.

What to do if you don't receive your discount letter

If you think you are eligible for the core group but have not received your letter, you can call the Warm Home Discount helpline for support.

The helpline for the 2020/21 period opens on 12 October 2020. From that date, you can reach the helpline from Mondays to Fridays between 8:30am and 4:30pm. You should only call the Warm Home Discount helpline if you are in the core group.

Call the Warm Home Discount helpline on 0800 731 0214.

Warm Home Discount: Broader group

Even if you don't fall into the core group, you may still be able to get the Warm Home Discount.

Some suppliers offer this discount to a broader group of customers who they deem to be vulnerable households and at risk of experiencing fuel poverty. This may include low-income households, and particularly those low-income homes with a small child under five years old.

However, the Warm Home Discount Scheme is only open for a limited number of broader group customers, and your supplier will have its own eligibility criteria, so you will need to apply for the discount.

Although the specific criteria will depend on your energy supplier, you might qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if your gross annual household income is less than £16,190, or if you receive:

  • Income Support, or
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or
  • Universal Credit.

Some energy suppliers will ask that, in addition to the criteria above, one of the following criteria also applies:

  1. You have parental or household responsibilities for:
    • a child under 5 who ordinarily lives with you, or
    • a child in full-time education or approved training and you receive a working tax credit, or
    • a child who is registered disabled.
  2. You are exempt from paying for NHS prescriptions because:
    • you have a chronic illness, or
    • you are pregnant or had a baby within the last year, or
    • you have a current MATEX or MEDEX certificate.
  3. You receive:
    • child tax credits, or
    • disabled child premiums or elements, or
    • disability, enhanced disability or severe disability premiums, or
    • pensioner, higher pensioner or enhanced pensioner premiums.

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Which energy suppliers are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

Not every electricity supplier participates in the warm home discount scheme. The following suppliers are currently part of the scheme:

What happens next?

If you belong to the broader group and you wish to apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, you will need to send in an application to your energy supplier and provide a declaration that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Discounts for broader group applicants are limited and usually determined on a first-come, first-served basis. With this in mind, it's a good idea to submit your application form as quickly as possible once the scheme reopens, to improve your chances of benefiting from the discount.

Once your energy supplier has received your application, they will check to see if you qualify and then they will write to you to let you know what happens next. If you qualify, you'll receive your payment by 31 March 2021.

How you will receive your Warm Home Discount

Households qualifying for the Warm Home Discount will receive £140 off their electricity bills. This amount is the same whether you fall into the core group or broader group.

Rather than receiving £140 as cash, you will either receive the discount directly from your electricity supplier as money off your bill. If you have a pre-payment meter, you will receive a voucher you can use to top-up your pre-payment key.

How to claim the Warm Homes Discount if you think you are eligible

Most households that are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme as part of the core group don't need to do anything to be enrolled on to the scheme. If you are eligible, you should be enrolled automatically and you will receive a letter to confirm this.

Similarly, you should not have to do anything to receive your payment. Your electricity supplier should apply the discount automatically to your bill or send you a voucher if you use a pre-payment meter.

If you think you should be eligible for an upcoming Warm Home Discount Scheme but you have not received a letter, you can contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme team by calling the helpline on 0800 731 0214.

Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm when the scheme is open. The helpline for the 2020/21 period opens on 12 October 2020. You can also write to them at the following address:

Warm Home Discount,
Blue Zone, Ground Floor Phase 1,
Peel Park,
Brunel Way,
FY4 5ES.

If you think you should be part of the broader group of customers who will be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, then you need to contact your electricity supplier directly.

They will support you through the application process and tell you exactly what documentation you need to provide as evidence of your circumstances.

How to reduce your home energy bills

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is an important initiative if you struggle to pay your energy bills, but it's not the only way to reduce the amount you are charged.

The best way to make larger savings from paying less on your energy bills is by comparing energy suppliers and tariffs through Utility Saving Expert. It's totally free and takes just a few minutes to do.

Find a recent energy bill and start your energy comparison by entering some details, comparing tariffs and switch to a new supplier, all through UtilitySavingExpert.com

However, if you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount with one supplier but switch to another supplier who is not part of the scheme, you will lose your discount.

You should take some time to work out how much you're likely to save by switching, and factor in the possibility that you could lose the Warm Home Discount to see if this saves you money overall.

It's a good idea to switch to the best energy supplier after you have received your Warm Home Discount for one year, but whilst the scheme is closed for the next year, and choose a new supplier who also offers the scheme. You can apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme the following year with your new supplier.