New Warm Home Discount Scheme rules in England and Wales

4 mins read

Thursday 1 December 2022

Tags: fuel bills, out of energy, energy costs, warm home discount scheme, money

The Warm Home Discount Scheme rules have changed in England and Wales for winter 2022/23. The scheme now operates differently than before.

Families eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme will now receive a letter at some point between November and January telling them about the scheme.

But who is eligible for the scheme, and how do they get payments? We explain all below.

What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a rebate of £150 off your winter fuel bill. The scheme applies in England and Wales, and it operates in Scotland, but differently.

Will I qualify for the scheme?

In order to qualify for the discount, all of the following must have applied to you on 21 August 2022:

You can check if you are eligible for a discount by using the eligibility checker on the GOV.UK website.

What means-tested benefits count?

  • Housing Benefit.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
  • Income Support.
  • The ‘Savings Credit’ part of Pension Credit.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Tax credits (but only if your annual income is below a certain threshold that varies depending on family size). 

Does my property have a high energy cost score?

You will only qualify if the government considers your property to have high energy costs.

In looking at this issue, the government will look at three main factors: the property type: its age; and its floor area. This will be made based on information about your property held by the Valuation Office Agency.

What happens if I’m eligible?

If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a letter at some point between November 2022 and January 2023 telling you about the discount.

Most eligible households will receive their discount automatically without needing to apply. However, some people will need to call a helpline to confirm their details. Your letter will say if you need to do this.

If you qualify, your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill before 31 March 2023.

If you think you qualify but haven’t had any written confirmation by February, call the Warm Home Discount Helpline on 0800 107 8002.

How is the scheme different from previous years?

One of the main changes is that households who meet the eligibility criteria are now guaranteed a payment. Previously, the scheme operated on a first come, first served basis, with only a limited number of discounts.

In addition, families who qualify no longer need to make an application. The discounts are made automatically. The government estimates that an extra 750,000 low-income families will qualify.

However, the use of a high energy score for properties means that some families in smaller, newer properties may be less likely to qualify than in the past. In addition, fuel companies will no longer have the discretion to extend the discount to other groups who don’t get one of the means-tested benefits. In the past, some energy suppliers would allow families in receipt of Disability Living Allowance to apply, even if they were not on means-tested benefits. 

The Warm Home Discount scheme in Scotland

These changes only apply to the Warm Home Discount Scheme in England and Wales.

The original rules continue to apply in Scotland. The scheme still works on a first come, first served basis, with a limited number of discounts available. There is no test of whether your property has a high energy score, but you will normally have to get certain benefits to qualify. The qualifying benefits are slightly different to those used in England and Wales.

Most suppliers have opened their schemes to new applications for 2022/23, so don’t delay in applying if you live in Scotland. Contact your supplier to find out more.

There is no Warm Home Discount Scheme in Northern Ireland.