Warm Home Discount Scheme explained

Find out if you qualify for the government programme that provides a one-off rebate towards your household’s electricity bills

With gas and electricity costs on the rise, now is a great time to look at the different incentives and grants available to you to reduce your energy bills. The Warm Home Discount Scheme, if you qualify, could provide you with a one-off payment of £140 towards your electricity bills this winter. It’s an easy saving to make just by simply filling in a simple online form.

Read on to find out all the answers to your questions about the scheme, from explaining what it is and how to find out if you’re eligible, to how to apply and if there are any restrictions.

What is the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

The Warm Home Discount is a government initiative that provides eligible households with money that they can put towards their household electricity bills. The scheme is made for those looking for ways to save energy at home to reduce the cost of living.

‘The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a great way of tackling fuel poverty for the most vulnerable in the UK. It’s no secret that we’re seeing the cost of energy rapidly rising, and this is a small silver lining for those who need it most,’ says Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings (opens in new tab). The discount for the 2021-2022 winter season is set at £140. ‘It’s crucial for many vulnerable people in the UK,’ adds Phil.

Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

kitchen room with tiled flooring and kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Clive Doyle)

The programme is designed to help vulnerable people or those why may need help covering the costs of their energy bills during the winter months when energy bills tend to soar. You too may be wondering why your energy bills are so high. Therefore there is certain criteria that will need to be met to prove your eligibility.

If you do qualify, you’ll fall into either the Core Group category or the Broader Group category:

  • Core Group: Pensioners who receive the Guarantee Credit part of the Pension Credit should receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions to notify them that they qualify for the scheme. This group doesn’t normally need to apply for the discount. Instead the money is automatically deducted from their bill. If you don’t get a letter but think you qualify for the core group, call the Warm Home Discount helpline on 0800 731 0214.
  • Broader Group People who are already living in, or are at risk of fuel poverty fall into this grouping. Typically, you will have to be a recipient of a state benefit, such as Income Support or Universal Credit. You might also be able to apply if your household annual income falls below £16,000, as long as you have a child under five years living permanently in the house or you receive a Disability Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Incapacity Benefit or Attendance Allowance. Your electricity supplier decides who can receive the discount, so check with your supplier as early as possible to see if you’re eligible and for details on how to apply. If successful, the discount will be applied to your bill by March 2022.

Incredibly, according to a spokesperson at OfGem (opens in new tab), the scheme currently provides £149.5 million to Core Group consumers and £161.9 million to Broader Group customers.

How do I get the Warm Home Discount?

The funds aren’t given to you directly, but applied to your energy bill between October and March, meaning the discount is handled by your energy provider. If you have a pre-payment meter, your energy company will confirm how you’ll get the discount. For example, it might be a voucher you can use to top up your meter.

How do I apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme?

living room with fireplace and shelves on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

The core group has their discount applied automatically. If you fall under the Broader Group you will need to apply to your electricity supplier and, if eligible, the funds are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, so it pays to apply as soon as you can – which is usually from October.

The scheme is proving so popular that some energy providers have already reached their capacity and aren’t accepting any more applications for this year’s 2021/2022 scheme. Bear in mind, that you will have to reapply each year.

Also, not all energy suppliers have to pay the Warm Home Discount, so check to see if your current supplier does. If not you may have to switch providers to benefit. To physically apply, fill in the application form on your supplier’s website or telephone them to start the process.

Can I switch energy providers if I’ve received the Warm Home Discount benefit?

If you’re receiving the benefit via the Core Group, you should be fine to switch energy suppliers, but do check that your new supplier supports the scheme. If receiving the benefit as part of the Broader Group, you need to check your supplier’s rules about changing to a different company.

If you have already received the benefit, then you should be fine to switch. If you’re still waiting for the payment to reach you, you may come across some complications in switching suppliers and you could risk not receiving the benefit at all. With this in mind, it might be worthwhile waiting until the payment is in your account before you start any energy price comparisons with other companies.

Is the Warm Home Discount Scheme the same as the Winter Fuel payment?

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is separate from the Winter Fuel payment and won’t affect your eligibility for the Warm Home Discount programme. The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free benefit given to those who were born on or before 26 September 1955 and if you lived in the UK throughout the qualifying week for the financial year of 2021–2022 (which was 20-26 September 2021).

How much you’ll receive depends on your personal circumstances and should be paid into your account by mid-January each year. If you think you’re eligible but haven’t received monies by 14 January, call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160.

‘One of the great things about the Warm Home Discount Scheme is that it is separate from the Cold Weather Payment & Winter Fuel Payment and will not impact eligibility, a real boost to those who need it most,’ says Phil Foster.

bathroom with wooden flooring and white tiled wall

(Image credit: Future plc/Darren Chung)

Can I apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if I live in a mobile home?

Mobile Homes are eligible for the Warm Home Discount, but must apply through The Park Homes Warm Discount Scheme managed by Charis Grants (opens in new tab).

‘The scheme is available to permanent residents living in park homes across England, Scotland and Wales paying their electricity bills directly to the park site owner. Applications are considered on a first come first served basis and there’s a waiting list,’ explains Phil Foster.

‘Charis has administered the Park Homes Warm Home Discount Scheme since its inception in 2015. Since then, we have worked closely with energy suppliers to deliver over £3 million of funds to keep over 20,000 homes warm over winter each year,’ says Alec Broadhurst, Director at Charis.

‘The scheme targets residents who cannot access the Warm Home Discount £140 rebate because they do not have a traditional supplier. We know the payments we make are impactful. The families we support are often elderly and living in leaky homes that are hard to heat and keep warm. Coupled with the fact that Park Home residents are often unable to shop around for cheaper energy deals.’

Do bear in mind that the Park Homes incentive is extremely popular. ‘Over recent years the scheme has been very highly subscribed meaning it can close only a few weeks after opening,’ says Alec Broadhurst. Unfortunately the scheme has already closed for 2021/2022 as its already reached its maximum number of applications. However, you can register your interest for next year’s discount at Park Homes Warm Discount (opens in new tab).

What happens to my warm home discount if my energy supplier goes out of business?

If you’re in the Core Group, you should continue to get the discount with your new supplier. If you’re in the Broader Group, you’ll need to reapply for the discount with your new supplier. Do this as soon as possible, as the number of discounts paid by each supplier to their Broader group customers may be restricted.

The Energy Bills Rebate

With the energy bill price cap set to rise in April, the government has recently announced the Energy Bills Rebate bill to help householders tackle the cost of living. The new bill offers all energy customers an upfront £200 discount on their energy bill to tackle the rising costs – which will be applied to people’s bills direct from their suppliers from October 2022. The discount will have to be repaid from people’s bills in equal £40 instalments over the next five years, which will hopefully spread the cost of this year’s energy shock over time. It’s expected that the repayments will begin from April 2023 when, hopefully, the energy market will have returned to some normality.

The government has also promised around 15m households a £150 council tax discount if they are in bands A to D. The rebate will be made directly by local authorities from April 2022 and will not need to be repaid. 

For those who need help with their energy bills but are not eligible – such as households on income support in higher bands (E-H) or with properties in bands A-D that are exempt from council tax – local authorities will receive £144 million of discretionary funding to help. Visit www.gov.uk (opens in new tab) for more details.

Sophie Vening
Sophie Vening

Sophie Vening is a freelance journalist and editor with more than 16 years’ experience writing about homes and properties. She’s worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors, self-build and property titles including, Grand Designs, Ideal Home, House Beautiful, Build It, The Metro Homes & Property and The Evening Standard Homes & Property. 

She enjoys writing about complex issues in an easy-to-understand way.