With the recent increases in the cost of living, we know that many older people are concerned about shopping for food, heating their homes and filling up their car. We also know that many older people are unsure about the financial entitlements that may be available to them, and where they can go for help and information.
That’s why the Commissioner has brought together helpful information to answer some key questions about the financial assistance that may be available to older people to help them through this difficult time.
All households in Wales will get a £400 payment from the UK Government to help offset the soaring price of energy bills.
All households who have a domestic electricity connection will be automatically eligible for the grant (though if your bills are included in your rent it will go to your landlord). The money will be paid in six instalments. Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, and £67 a month from December to March 2023.
How you receive your £400 discount will depend on how you pay your energy bills. If you pay by direct debit, you will have your money paid straight into your account from the start of October. If you have a pre-payment meter the cash will be credited to your meter, or you will receive a voucher in the first week of each month, via text, email or in the post. Customers will have to redeem these in person at their usual top-up point, such as a local Post Office.
Any household entitled to a payment of a means tested entitlement such as:
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
If you were receiving one of these payments during the period 26 April – 25 May 2022 then you will qualify for the Cost of Living Payment.
There is no need to make an application – the DWP will make the payment in two lump sums – the first £326 between July 14th and the end of the month, alongside your usual entitlement payment, and the second £324 in the autumn (no date as yet) to those who are still eligible.
HMRC will administer the payments for those in receipt of Working or Child Tax Credit during the same qualifying period. Those in receipt of both tax credits will only receive one payment and those in receipt of both a tax credit and another means tested entitlement will only receive a payment from the DWP.
All pensioner households will get the one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment from the UK Government as an addition to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December.
If you’re receiving a state pension and/or other entitlements such as Pension Credit or Attendance Allowance you should receive your Winter Fuel Payment automatically – if not, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to make a claim on 0800 731 0160 (You’ll need your National Insurance number and bank or building society details).
You should get between £100 and £300 from the Winter Fuel Payment to help with your bills in winter, the exact amount depends on your age and whether other people in your household also qualify.
The £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment is in addition to the Winter Fuel Payment and for most pensioner households, both will be paid by direct debit.
People who receive the following disability entitlements will receive a one-off payment of £150 in September:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
For the many disability entitlement recipients who receive means tested entitlements, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.
These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing entitlements.
The UK Government will make these payments directly to eligible people from September 2022.
All household in properties in Council Tax Bands A to D and all households which receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in all council tax bands.
If the householder(s) was in receipt of support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme on 15 February 2022, they are automatically assessed as being entitled to a payment of £150 regardless of the valuation band in which their property is placed
It is administered by your local authority, and you should either have received the payment into your bank account already if you pay your council tax by direct debit or have received a letter from the council letting you know how you can get the payment.
Some other households, not mentioned above, may also be eligible for a discretionary payment and local authorities will be contacting them directly.
The Welsh Government has confirmed that eligibility for its Winter Fuel Support Scheme has been extended to include people receiving Pension Credit.
To apply, you’ll need to contact your council.
Applications open on 26 September, with payments being made from October.
Please note that only one claim can be made per household.
Oil or LPG
Funding is available for off-grid households through the Discretionary Assistance Fund for a one-off oil payment of £250 or three payments of £70 towards LPG deliveries.
Contact Advicelink Cymru on their free helpline 0800 702 2020 and ask for someone to help to complete the application for you by phone. The Fund will be available until March 2023.
The Welsh Government has awarded £4m of funding to the Fuel Bank Foundation to introduce a national fuel vouchers scheme for those households struggling to top up their meters. £30 of credit in the summer months and £49 in the winter months – households can receive up to three vouchers over a six-month period.
Contact Advicelink Cymru on their free helpline 0800 702 2020and ask for help in applying for a voucher.
The Discretionary Assistance Fund gives grants to people who either need help to live independently, called an Individual Assistance Payment or to people who have experienced an emergency or a disaster, called an Emergency Assistance Payment. Grants do not need to be paid back.
You can contact your local Citizens Advice service or phone Advicelink Cymru on their free helpline 0800 702 2020 for help in applying for a grant.
Contact your local Care and Repair Cymru Service on 0300 111 3333.
Care and Repair Cymru run a project called 70+ Cymru which aims to improve the warmth, comfort and quality of life for older people in Wales. A Home Energy Officers can visit you and work with you to find ways to keep your home safe and warm. They may even be able to refer you onto the Welsh Governments Nest programme for further help and support if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Yes, you should check if you’re eligible.
Pension Credit can top up a person’s income to a minimum of £182.60 per week for single pensioners and to £278.70 for couples. It can also provide access to a range of other entitlements such as help with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and for those aged 75 or over, a free TV licence.
Talk to an advisor at Advicelink Cymru on their free Claim What’s Yours helpline on 0808 250 5700, they can help you check what you are entitled to and even arrange for you to get help in completing any claims.
However, you can also phone the Pension Credit Claim Line directly on 0800 99 1234 or apply online at Pension Credit: How to claim – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Advice and Assistance
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