If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, you might be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the UK government, the Scottish government and energy suppliers.
Cost of living award
The cost of living award is £150 from your local council to help pay your Council Tax bill.
You should have got the award if you were liable to pay Council Tax on 14 February 2022 and you met 1 of the following conditions:
- your home is in Council Tax bands A to D
- you were getting Council Tax Reduction (CTR).
Most households who were eligible got the money as credit to their Council Tax accounts. Your Council Tax bill for 2022 to 2023 will show if you got a cost of living award.
You might also have got the award if you met certain conditions and your home was exempt from paying Council Tax because:
- everyone living there was under 18, a care leaver or severely mentally impaired
- you were providing care or getting care elsewhere and your home was unoccupied.
If you were accessing housing support services or living in temporary accommodation or a refuge on 14 February 2022, you might also be entitled to the award.
Your local council’s website might have more information about the cost of living award.
If you think you should have got this award but didn’t, you should contact your local council. You can find your local council on mygov.scot.
Get a one-off payment from the government
The government will give every household in Great Britain £400 off their electricity bill. This 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. The £400 will be automatically added to your energy account over 6 months starting from October 2022. 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.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a payment to help you pay your heating bills during the winter.
You’ll get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically – you don’t need to apply – if all of the following apply:
- you get the State Pension or another benefit – but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
- you were born on or before 26 September 1956
- you lived in the UK for at least 1 day during the ‘qualifying week’.
If you don’t get the State Pension or another benefit, or if you live abroad, you might need to make a claim.
Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment on GOV.UK.
Low income Winter Heating Assistance
Low Income Winter Heating Assistance is replacing the Cold Weather Payment in Scotland. It’s a payment of £50 once a year to help with your energy bills in winter. This starts in February 2023.
You might get Winter Heating Assistance if you get:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest.
You won’t need to apply for Winter Heating Assistance. You’ll get a payment automatically if you’re eligible.
Child Winter Heating Assistance
Child Winter Heating Assistance is a payment of £214.10.
It’s paid once a year to parents and carers to help with household costs for disabled children and young people under 19.
You’ll get Child Winter Heating Assistance if you have a child or young person in the household who gets 1 of the following benefits in the qualifying week:
- the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
- the highest rate of the care component of Child Disability Payment
- the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
- the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment.
The qualifying week is the third week in September.
The payment does not have to be used to pay heating costs.
Read more about Child Winter Heating Assistance.
Home Heating Support Fund
The Home Heating Support Fund provides financial support for people in Scotland who are at risk of limiting their own energy usage because of significant financial hardship.
The fund is available to energy customers using any type of fuel or payment method.
To apply to the fund you must have received energy or money advice from an accredited agency. You can check the list of registered agencies that can help on the homeheatingadvice.scot website. These registered referral partners can submit an application on your behalf. There is also the option to submit your own application through the household application route if you can provide evidence that you have received advice from an organisation on the list.
Payments are made directly to your energy supplier.
Find out more about the Home Heating Support Fund and how to apply on the homeheatingadvice.scot website.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme for 2021 to 2022 has now closed. We’ll update this page with details of the 2022 to 2023 scheme when it’s announced.
Grants to help pay off your energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.
Before you apply
When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help applying.
You can get help with the application from a Citizens Advice Bureau. Find where to get advice.
It’s worth checking on the trust or fund website if there’s anything else you need to do before you apply.
You might need to show that you’ve had debt advice before you apply. For example, you might need to show you’ve completed a budget sheet with a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved adviser.
You can get debt advice from:
You’ll need information about your income and expenses, like what you spend on food and energy.
Extra help from your supplier
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you’re a pensioner, disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers you ‘vulnerable’.
They would be able to help you with things like:
- reading your energy meter
- moving your energy meter free of charge
- getting your bills sent or copied to someone else – for example, a carer.
If you’re struggling with living costs
If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.
You can also get help with debts.
If you’re struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.
You could also work out your budget to see where your money goes each month. You can use our budgeting tool.
You can read our advice for steps you can take if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills.
You might be able to make your home more energy efficient to help reduce your fuel costs. Find out more about funding for energy efficiency in homes.
If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can get help with energy issues from Deaf Action’s Bright Deal service. It can give you advice in BSL, either online, on a video call or by arranging a home visit. Find out more on Deaf Action’s website.
If you need more help you can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.