MILLIONS of people on personal independence payment (PIP) can get help with their energy bills during cold snaps.
PIP boosts the incomes of those living with long-term physical and mental health conditions or disabilities.
To qualify you have to have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months.
There should also be an expectation that these difficulties will continue for at least nine months – unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live.
PIP is for those aged 16 or over who have not reached state pension age.
If you’re over State Pension age, you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.
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Or if you’ve received PIP before, you can still make a new claim if you were eligible for it in the year before you reached State Pension age.
The benefit can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so it's worth checking if you can make a claim.
The quickest way to see what benefits you may be able to claim is to use one of the three benefit calculators offered by Turn2us, Policy in Practice and EntitledTo.
Difficulties with daily living can include preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing and undressing, reading and communicating, managing your medicines or treatments, making decisions about money, and engaging with other people.
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PIP is made up of two parts and whether you get one or both of these depend on how severely your condition affects you.
How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £24.45 or £64.50.
While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £61.85 or £92.40 – and you could get both elements, so up to £156.90 in total.
You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
Payments are usually made every four weeks directly into your bank account, and they're tax-free.
And there are freebies and discounts available with the support too, including energy bill help and cost of living payments.
We've put together a list of the seven types of energy support available to people on PIP.
Households can get grants worth up to £1,500 to help pay off their energy debts.
Some suppliers or charities will offer to write off your energy debt while others could give you a cash boost.
Households can get up to £1,500 in grants from the British Gas Energy Trust to help pay their bills.
The debt relief grant is available to both British Gas customers and customers of other energy firms.
Scottish Power will pay up to £750 in grants to help its customers pay off their energy debt.
E.ON, E.ON Next, Octopus Energy and Ovo Energy also offer grants worth hundreds.
Check with your energy supplier to see what grants and support they have on offer.
Pensioner cost of living payment
In November, a £300 one-off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" will be paid out to eight million households.
It was given to those who already get the winter fuel payment, worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.
To qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, the following must apply:
- You were born on or before 25 September 1956
- You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 – this is called the "qualifying week".
And millions of elderly Brits will receive another one-off £300 payment in April.
Disability cost of living payment
Over six million people with disabilities will receive a £150 payment this summer.
The exact eligibility criteria for getting the payment have not been revealed yet.
But those who qualified for last year's £150 bill help received one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
More details will be announced in due course.
Disabled Facilities Grant
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if you're disabled and need to make changes to your home to suit your needs.
For example, you might need to widen doors and install ramps or rails.
Or you might need to install a heating system that suits your specific needs.
You can get different amounts of money depending on whether you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The grants are not available for households in Scotland.
If you live in Wales you can get up to £36,000 worth of support, £30,000 in England and up to £25,000 in Northern Ireland.
You have to apply through your local council which must give you a decision within six months.
Fuel vouchers – worth £50
If you're on a prepayment meter you might be able to get a one-off voucher to top up.
The fuel voucher scheme comes via the Fuel Bank Foundation charity, and it's offered through a range of organisations, like food banks and Citizens Advice.
The best place to start to find somewhere which can offer you a fuel voucher is by asking your local council – you can find yours via gov.uk by searching your postcode.
The voucher should help you cover around two weeks' worth of electricity use.
Some energy companies may also issue their own vouchers, so ask your supplier directly.
Emergency credit – worth £10
Energy companies usually offer emergency credit, though you will have to pay this back.
British Gas recently doubled the amount customers can get in an emergency due to the cost of living crisis.
The supplier said households with a top-up key or card will now be able to go £10 into debt before they're cut off.
Smart meter customers will still have a £5 limit, but the company is looking to roll the increase out to these households too.
How much you get and how it's applied will depend on who your supplier is.
It might be added to your meter when you fall below a certain amount or you might have to ask for it.
You might get extra if you are vulnerable, for example, if you have a health condition or are over state pension age.
You'll have to repay the cash next time you top up, but you can speak to your supplier about how much you'll pay back and over what time.
You could get a brand new boiler installed free of charge from your energy company if you are on a low income, or considered a vulnerable customer.
A number of suppliers offer the freebie, but their eligibility criteria may vary.
E.on, for example, is offering new boilers under its Affordable Warmth scheme – but you need to receive certain benefits to qualify, and have an income below £18,500 if you're single or £25,500 if you're a couple.
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British Gas, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, and SSE have versions of the grant for their customers too.
But not many providers let you apply online, so you need to call direct to get started.
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