The weather has already begun to get colder as we edge closer to winter with more and more households starting to turn their their heating on to keep them warm. 

But with the cost of living and energy bills continuing to rise it can be hard to keep your house warm all the time without racking up a huge bill.

No need to worry, the Welsh and UK Governments have a number of benefit schemes available for households in Wales to help with the rising cost of their energy bills. 

Here is a round-up of some of the benefits you can apply for this winter to help with your energy bill, and just who is eligible to claim them.

How you can reduce your energy bills

Benefits households can claim this winter to help with energy bills

These are the benefits, outlined on the Welsh Government website, that certain households across Wales can claim this winter to help with the cost of their energy bills:

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme gives a £150 rebate for electricity bills to eligible households for winter 2023/24.

The money is not paid to you, instead, a one-off discount is applied to your electricity bill sometime between October 2023 and March 2024.

If you might be eligible, you’ll get a letter by early January 2024.

If you think you are eligible but don't get a letter, you'll need to contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme before February 29, 2024.

Who's eligible?

Households in Wales are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
  • Are on a low income and have high energy costs

For more information on the Warm Home Discount Scheme visit the website.

County Times: More and more households are beginning to turn their heating on as the weather starts to get colder.More and more households are beginning to turn their heating on as the weather starts to get colder. (Image: PA)

Cold Weather Payments

Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s "very cold".

If you’re eligible, you’ll get these payments automatically.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of "very cold" weather between November 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.

Who's eligible?

You’ll only be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you already get:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • If you're eligible, you'll get paid automatically. 

Find out more about Cold Weather Payments via the website

Winter Fuel Payment

People born before September 25, 1957 may qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment. 

This is a payment of between £250 and £600 to help with heating bills.

The amount eligible applicants get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’ which can be between £150 and £300.

You’ll get this extra amount in winter 2023 to 2024, says the website.

This payment is in addition to any other Cost of Living Payments you get with your benefit or tax credits.

You should get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you'll receive a letter in October or November alerting you as to how much you'll receive.

Who's eligible?

To get the Winter Fuel Payment you will first need to be born before September 25, 1957.

You usually need to live in the UK but there are some circumstances where you can still be eligible if you live abroad.

You are not eligible if you:

  • Have been in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
  • Need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave says that you cannot claim public funds
  • Were in prison for the whole of the week of September 18 to 24, 2023

If you live in a care home, you can get the Winter Fuel Payment as long as neither of the following apply to you:

  • You get Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • You lived in a care home for the whole time from June 26 to September 24, 2023

Alternative fuels for heating

You may be eligible for a £200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP) if your household is not connected to the mains gas grid and you use alternative fuels as your main form of heating.

Most eligible households will automatically get an AFP payment.

However, this service has now closed for winter 2023/24.

Is it cheaper to keep the heating on low all day?

The Discretionary Assistance Fund

The Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) - through the Welsh Government - provides two types of grants that you do not need to pay back.

Only one of the grants can be used for essential costs such as gas and electricity and that is the Emergency Assistance Payment (EAP). 

However, the Welsh Government website states: "You cannot use it to pay for ongoing bills that you cannot afford to pay."

Who's eligible?

You can apply for the grant if you are:

  • In extreme financial hardship - for example you've lost your job, applied for benefits and waiting for your first payment or have no money to buy food, gas and electricity
  • In a crisis situation and in need of immediate financial support
  • Live in Wales and are over 16
  • Have no other money for example savings, and considered all other legal and responsible lenders such as credit unions


Other benefits

There are a wide range of other benefits offered by the UK and Welsh Governments that households in Wales may be eligible for to help with, not just energy bills, but the general cost of living.

To see what other cost of living support schemes are available and if you are eligible, visit the Welsh Government website.