Warm home discount: Major rule change means thousands of benefits claimants will no longer be eligible

The government has announced a major change to its rules around the warm home discount which mean thousands of benefits claimants might no longer receive the payments. The UK government has changed its rules around eligibility for the warm home discount, which allows energy providers to give households discounts to their bills.

In its response to a consultation on the scheme on April 1, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has set out a number of key changes which will come into force in July this year. Among the changes are that people who only claim disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payments (PIP) will no longer be eligible for the discount from July. According to Money Saving Expert, this means almost 300,000 disability benefit claimants will no longer able to get the rebate.

However, the government says the change will see an additional 750,000 households receive the energy payment. This will include those currently claiming housing benefit, or who will be claiming it when the changes take effect. The amount you get on the scheme will also increase from £140 to £150 from July.

Read more: Cost of living payment: When and how you can get the £150 payment in Wales

The changes announced to the warm home discount in full are:

  • If you only claim DLA or PIP: You will not be eligible for the discount. Previously, those who only claimed DLA or PIP may have received the rebate if their energy supplier included them in their eligibility criteria. From July, these people won’t get the rebate, unless they also claim another qualifying means-tested benefit.
  • If you claim housing benefit, you will now qualify. Under the new plans, the broader group will be replaced with a new ‘core group 2’ that will now include those claiming housing benefit, as well as those claiming income-related employment, support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, universal credit, child tax credits and working tax credits.
  • The amount you receive will increase from £140 to £150 and payments will be made automatically to all who are eligible in both core groups by using data from the tax office, so the vast majority won’t need to apply.
  • You can challenge if you think you’re eligible. The government says people will be notified whether or not they’ll receive the rebate but you will be able to challenge the decision if you think you should be eligible.

A BEIS spokesperson said: ” Our reforms to the warm home discount scheme will prioritise those households who are most likely to struggle to heat their homes. It is a fuel poverty scheme and we are increasing both the number and amount of fuel poor households that can benefit from it.”