This month: pensioners struggling with bills


A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues

A: Firstly, you should do a benefits check to ensure that you are claiming everything to which you are entitled. You can use an online benefit checker such as EntitledTo but if you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact your local Citizens Advice. You should also contact your energy supplier and ask what assistance they can provide.

Winter fuel
Once people reach state pension age, they are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, which is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter.
You should start getting the Winter Fuel Payment automatically once you reach State Pension age, but sometimes you might need to apply. You can find out how to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment on GOV.UK.

Pensioner support
Dorset Council’s Household Support Fund is now open to every Dorset household which includes someone of state pension age, provided that person doesn’t have savings of more than £10K. Households can apply online and the application must be made in the name of the person who is the pensioner.
Applicants will need to provide evidence of age and ID. If you are doing the application yourself, you will need to be able to upload the documents via the website.
If you are struggling with the application process, get in touch with Citizens Advice, who will be able to suggest a way ahead.

Council Tax
If you pay Council Tax and your home is in band A-D (or E if you get the disabled band reduction discount) you may have already received the £150 energy discount via your council tax. If you have not received this or have received a letter telling you that you are entitled but have not made a claim, you should take action now.

People who receive means-tested benefits, including Pension Credit, may get a Cost of Living payment of £650 paid in two lump sums of £326 and £324. You do not have to make a claim – the payment will be made automatically. The first of these payments should have been made in July with the second due in the autumn. If you are eligible for pension credit, that may act as a passport to other payments, such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme and discounts such as a discount on your water bill.

Energy support
The government plans to give every household in Great Britain £400 off their electricity bill – it is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme. You don’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t have to pay it back. £400 will be automatically added to your energy account over six months starting from October.
If you have a prepayment meter, the £400 will be added to your meter or you’ll be given vouchers – the government will confirm how you’ll get the money nearer the time.


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