VULNERABLE pensioners are missing out on a vital benefit that can cut their energy bills by £140 a year.
Over 1.4 million over-65s are missing out on the Warm Homes Discount this year, a scheme designed to help elderly people who are either in - or at risk of - fuel poverty.
There are two sets of over-65s who are likely to be missing out on the benefit.
The first are those people who are already eligible for the discount but get their energy from a supplier who is not signed up to the scheme.
Analysis from energy comparison site CompareTheMarket.com suggests that over 100,000 pensioners are falling into this gap.
Only 14 energy companies offer the discount, so if you qualify but use a different provider, you'll won't save the £140.
If this is you, it's worth checking to see if you can get a comparable - or perhaps even better - deal from one of the signed up suppliers.
Even if a deal is slightly more expensive than you're on, you might still save more overall.
Which suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount
THE suppliers that currently provide it are:
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- Co-op Energy
- Economy Energy
- EDF Energy
- EON Energy
- Extra Energy
- First Utility
- Fischer Energy
- Flow Energy
- Npower Group
- Our Power
- OVO Energy
- Scottish Power
- Spark Energy
- SSE Energy
- Utility Energy
The other set of people who are missing out on the Warm Homes Discount are people who are eligible for the guaranteed element of pension credit, but haven't applied for the benefit.
CompareTheMarket.com says that this is around 1.3million over-65s.
There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
Pension credit is a means-tested benefit that helps those on lower incomes by giving them extra money throughout retirement.
The guarantee element tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £167.25 a week if you're single and £255.25 a week for married couples.
It is only available to people whose income falls below these limits and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.
Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:
- Your state pension
- Any other pensions you have saved, for instance workplace or private pension savings
- Most social security benefits, for example carer’s allowance
- Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
- Earnings from a job
As well as your pension credit income, you'll also automatically get the Warm Homes Discount and also qualify for a free TV licence - so it's definitely worth checking whether you qualify.
Peter Earl, head of energy at Comparethemarket.com, said: “The Warm Homes Discount is a lifeline for those elderly people who will struggle to afford to heat their homes this winter.
"With a worrying number of pensioners rationing their heating in order to cut down costs, it is vital that we raise awareness of the options available to them when they need it most.
"For starters, not all energy suppliers offer the discount. It is very important that energy customers eligible for the WHD regularly shop around and switch tariff or supplier.”
Garage owner was left "gobsmacked" after EDF sent him a bill of more than £255,000 for just 42 days of electricity.
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Meanwhile, you pay up to £72 a year extra for energy based on where you live under new price cap rules.
And some families are losing out on £220 a year by not switching energy supplier, research reveals.
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