This year’s cost of living support
The UK government has introduced a number of support schemes designed to help households live more comfortably through the difficult cost of living situation. There’s something for everyone, so read on to find out what you’re entitled to.
On 1st October 2022, the Energy Price Guarantee put a cap on the unit cost of gas and electricity that suppliers can charge. This means the average household’s energy bill will be £2,500 per year over the next two years. Your energy bills may be higher or lower, depending on how much gas and electricity you use, but the price per unit of gas abd electricity will not change.
If you signed up to a fixed rate tariff above the Energy Price Guarantee, your rates will be discounted but may still cost more than adjusted standard variable tariffs. If you live off-gas and use fuels such as heating oil to keep warm, you’ll receive an additional £100 off your electricity bill to compensate for the increased costs of these fuels. Make sure you learn how to read your energy bills.
In addition to this cap, every household will receive a £400 energy bill discount through the Energy Bills Support Scheme, spread out over six months and starting in October. The £66-67 monthly discount will be applied to your electricity account automatically by your supplier. This payment is a grant, not a loan, so you don’t have to worry about paying it back. If you don’t pay for your electricity directly to a supplier (e.g., if you pay a park owner for your electricity instead), there will still be help available for you.
Households who meet additional criteria due to financial circumstances, property specifications, disability and/or age, are eligible to receive further support as outlined below.
Households receiving means-tested benefits will get a two-part cost of living payment totalling £650. The DWP (or HMRC, depending on benefit type) will pay half (£326) from July and the other half (£324) from this autumn. It is a tax-free payment that won’t impact existing benefits and won’t count towards benefit caps.
Local authorities are also providing support to residents in difficult financial circumstances through the Household Support Fund. This scheme will run from October through to March 2023 and may include financial support for groceries, utilities and white goods. Eligibility may vary between local authorities, so contact them directly for further information.
Households receiving means-tested benefits may also qualify for this year’s £150 Warm Home Discount. People who, in the past, received this payment automatically (i.e., those getting Guaranteed Pension Credit) will continue to receive the Warm Home Discount.
Households who receive other means-tested benefits AND whose homes are hard-to-heat will also be eligible for the rebate. The government will confirm your status by sending a letter in the post in November/December. In most cases, if your household qualifies, you’ll receive the £150 discount by 31 March 2023. If you don’t quite qualify, you may still benefit from the Industry Initiatives. Speak to any big energy supplier about this.
The government introduced a £150 Council Tax rebate in April this year. Households living in council tax bands A-D should have been contacted by their local council about this rebate.
If you fall outside of these tax bands but are in financial need, the council can use its discretion – based on set eligibility criteria – to make a payment from their discretionary fund until 30 November 2022. Contact your local council about this directly.
The government understands that people with a disability often incur additional costs. In September this year, people receiving disability benefits will get a £150 cost of living payment.
Additional support is available for people using an oxygen concentrator. Households can contact the oxygen concentrator company directly to claim money back for the cost of using the concentrator.
Every winter, pensioners receive a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100 and £300, depending on circumstances. This year, households will receive an additional Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of between £150 and £300, taking the total Winter Fuel Payment to £250-£600. This payment will be made by the government direct to your household, if eligible, by 13 January 2023. Contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre if you haven’t received either a letter or the money by this time.
Even with all this extra support this year, we understand it’s going to be tough this winter for some. For ideas on how to reduce your energy bills further or take advantage of home energy efficiency grants, head to our home energy pages.