MARTIN Lewis has issued a warning as thousands miss out on £150 energy help.
The help is the Warm Home Discount scheme, which you can use to pay off energy bills.
Millions are eligible for the Warm House Discount to help them battle the cost of living.
Energy suppliers will automatically dish out the discount, which is £150 this year, as long as you were receiving certain benefits on or before Sunday, August 21.
However, consumer expert Martin Lewis has noted some won't get the payment, even if they're on low income.
This is because of new eligibility criteria, and some hard-up households now need to provide evidence of high energy costs.
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It means many who qualified last winter and are still under financial stress won’t get the payment.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "The new system of Warm Home Discount high energy use assessments has left some out in the cold.
"It seems to be a blunt instrument, which may work to keep administration costs down, but has led to edge cases likely unintentionally missing out, and provision is needed to help financially vulnerable people who are falling into these cracks.
"It seems to me, if there's doubt that people are high energy users, their bills may be a good way to settle it. I've contacted Grant Shapps and he told me he’d look at it.
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"I hope there will be some flexibility put into the system to help people at this difficult time, either to come up with solutions, or at a minimum to explain how people can better navigate the rules for a fair outcome."
This comes after the government flipped the rules last year which means hundreds of thousands of people will no longer qualify.
This includes those on Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments.
You'll need to be a recipient of one or more of the following benefits to qualify:
- Income support
- Income based jobseeker's allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Universal credit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credits
- Pension credit guaranteed
- Pension credit savings credit
If you weren't claiming any of the above benefits on August 21, 2022, you won't be eligible for the payment.
How do I apply for the discount?
People living in England and Wales don't need to apply for the Warm Home Discount as of this year.
You get the payment automatically if your electricity supplier is part of the scheme and you qualify.
Though energy regulator Ofgem says some people may be asked to contact a Government helpline to confirm their eligibility.
The money won't be paid to you directly – it'll be added as credit to your electricity account. This usually happens between October and April.
Visit the Government website for more information.
Is it different from cold weather payments?
Yes. You may still be able to get a cold weather payment as well as the warm home discount.
The cold weather payment is a £25 payout to benefits claimants when temperatures in their area fall below zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days between November 2022 and March 2023.
You don’t need to apply for the cold weather payment as it’s paid automatically.
Hundreds of postcodes have already been triggered this winter.
Why else could I have missed out on it?
There are certain loopholes that could see you slip through the cracks and miss out on your £150.
One of the biggest ways people fall through the cracks is because they weren't receiving the letter on or by the allotted date, according to consumer expert Martyn James.
For example, to get the latest payments, you need to have been receiving certain benefits on or before Sunday, August 21.
However, if you later launch a successful claim for backdated benefits, you may still be able to qualify after this date.
So, do try and apply anyway or contact the government to explain your circumstances.
You should also check that your energy provider is in touch with the scheme.
Smaller energy providers do not have to offer the WHD, according to Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown,
This means that those customers may be eligible but can't even get their foot in the door because their provider is not signed up.
If you're able to, Sarah pointed out that it might be worth switching to an energy provider who has signed up to the scheme.
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Check that you're eligible first and do weigh up the cost of your new provider, switching versus what you're paying now.
You can read a full list of suppliers offering it along with other loopholes in our roundup here.
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