Core Group Are you eligible for savings on your electricity bill?
The biggest group – called the ‘core group’ are about a million older people who get pension credit. Unfortunately it is not going to everyone on pension credit. The ones who qualify fall into two categories.
First, those under 80 who get the guarantee part of pension credit but not the savings credit. That means their income before the pension credit will normally be no more than £111.80 if single or £178.35 if a couple. Some with a disability may get more but the key test is they get guarantee credit and NOT savings credit.
Second, those over 80 can have higher income and get the discount. Their income before pension credit can be up to £142.70 a week (single) or £217.90 (couple). Some with disabilities can qualify with more as long as they get some guarantee credit.
With couples it is the age of the older partner which counts.
People in the core group should not have to claim. The Department for Work and Pensions is supplying the energy companies with information so they can be paid automatically. But they are subject to the same supplier and qualifying date rules set out below.
However, some who qualify may not be identified.Broader Group
The broader group who also qualify are low income households where there is a young child or someone with a disability. In some cases pensioners not in the core group can qualify as part of the broader group. People in this broader group have to make a claim.
Unfortunately the energy suppliers all have different rules for qualifying. So the safest thing is to contact your supplier to see if you qualify.
If your income is low and there are young or disabled children or disabled adults in the household or you are over pension age and do not qualify automatically, you should enquire. Payment
The discount is normally taken off your electricity bill. If you have a prepay meter you will be sent a cheque. You may also be sent a cheque if you have moved supplier since July 21, 2012. Your old supplier is responsible for paying you. All payments should be made by the end of March 2013. Supplier
The big six electricity suppliers are legally obliged to offer the warm home discount. They are British Gas (including Sainsbury’s), EDF Energy, E.on, npower, Scottish Power and SSE (that includes Atlantic Energy, Scottish Hydro, Southern Electric, SSE and Swalec). SSE also operates the scheme for Ebico, Equipower, and M&S Energy. Utility Warehouse and Equigas support the core group only. If you get your electricity from a smaller supplier not listed you will not get the warm home discount.Qualifying date
To qualify in the core group you have to pass the age and pension credit test on July 21, 2012. You may qualify for the broader group at a later date. The electricity bill must be in your name. More information
Find out more details at consumerfocus.org.uk
or call the Warm Home Discount helpline on 0845 603 9439.* Read Paul Lewis's money articles every month in Saga Magazine.