My mother is 78 years of age and lives on her own in a mobile home. This has a flat foof and has no cavity wall or roof insulation. She runs her heating with Calor Gas. She has bad hips but otherwise is fairly fit and healthy.
I am concerned now that she will not be able to afford to run the heating in this current climate, most goes through the windows and walls. She does receive the heating alowance, but no other help at all.
Is there anything I could claim to help her?
There are several ways in which the government try to help pensioners with their fuel bills.
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual payment to help those who are aged 60 to 79 which is non-taxable and can be worth £125 to £250, depending upon your circumstances if you qualify. If you’re aged 80 or over, you can get additional money.
There’s also the Cold Weather Payment which is an extra allowance during a prolonged spell of cold weather in the area. It doesn’t affect any other benefits and you don’t need to claim it as the payment is made automatically if you receive pension credit, income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance. This year, the payment is £25 where the average temperature recorded falls to zero degrees Celsius or below for a consecutive 7 day period between 1st November through to 31st March. You do not have to repay this money.
The government also has its Warm Front Scheme for those who are 60 or over and in receipt of pension credits. Here, it’s possible to claim a government grant of up to £2,700 to help put towards the cost of insulating a home via the walls or loft or through other heating improvement means. It’s available to people who either own their own home or if they rent from a private landlord and you can find out more details about this by contacting the Energy Advice Line on 0800 027 7668.
Depending on your mother’s circumstances, she may also be able to apply to be put onto one of the lower ‘social tariffs’ and these discounts can be worth in the region of £200 to £250 per year. They’re designed to lower the cost of utility bills for the most vulnerable customers and to find out more, you should contact the relevant energy supplier.
If she doesn’t qualify to be put onto a social tariff, it’s also worth visiting an energy comparison site to see if she can make savings by switching her utility supplier(s). You tend to find that online tariffs which you sign up to on the Internet and which are paid via direct debit tend to work out the cheapest.