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Are you missing out on the Warm Home Discount?

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Written by: Emma Lunn
26/01/2022
As many as 1.2 million over 66-year-olds who could be eligible for Pension Credit are missing out on vital financial support on their energy bills.

The Warm Home Discount scheme requires participating domestic energy suppliers to provide support to those who are in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. Eligible households receive a £140 credit on their energy bill.

But according to Comparethemarket.com, potentially more than 200,000 elderly customers will not benefit from the scheme due to being with an energy supplier which isn’t signed up to the scheme, or has limited capacity.

According to Ofgem, more than a million (1,028,519) people in this core group, which includes people on pension credit, were provided with the rebate last year. However, statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions show that more than 1.2 million (1,212,978) over 66-year-olds are receiving Pension Credit and are therefore eligible for the discount. This suggests more than 200,000 people are with suppliers who are not signed up to the scheme or have over-filled capacity.

Furthermore, the government estimates that one million pensioners may be entitled to Pension Credit but don’t claim it, meaning that millions of pensioners on low incomes could be missing out on vital discounts at a time when energy prices are significantly increasing.

The Warm Home Discount is available to people who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit this is known as the ‘core group’. The ‘broader group’ comprises of people who are on a low income and meet their energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.

According to research by Comparethemarket.com, nearly six in 10 (58%) over 65-year-olds are worried that colder weather will lead to higher energy bills – equating to 6.8 million people nationwide.

On average those over the age of 65 say that their energy bills would only have to rise by £95 a year to cause them financial difficulty. The sharp rise in gas prices towards the end of 2021 may however likely cause the energy price cap to be raised by hundreds of pounds in April 2022.

Alex Hasty, associate director at Comparethemarket.com, said: “As we move further into winter, it is very worrying to see that nearly a quarter of a million people are missing out on crucial support, despite being eligible. During a time when energy costs are significantly rising, the imminent price cap hike next month is likely to lack the necessary safety buffer against soaring fuel prices. We urge those eligible for the Warm Home Discount to apply, and for the government to consider expanding this to help relieve some of the significant pressure the energy crisis has placed on numerous elderly households.

“While volatility persists in the energy market, it may not currently be cost effective to switch to a fixed rate tariff when your deal comes to an end but using our online energy savings alert to keep on top of available deals is a good way to ensure you can save money when competition returns.”

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