Am I eligible for winter fuel allowance or cold weather payments?

A pile of envelopes of household energy bills electricity and gas. Selective focus limited depth of field.
Energy bills could rise by a crippling 50% for millions of customers. (Getty)

Energy bills could rise by a crippling 50% for millions of customers when Ofgem makes a price cap announcement on Thursday, experts have said.

The increase will impact around 22 million households who have already been hit by the cost of living crisis.

Energy consultancy Cornwall Insight said bills would likely hit £1,915 for the typical household.

The rises will come into force from 1 April, when the price cap on energy bills is updated for the next six months.

Watch: Energy price cap: Households may get £200 support as announcement brought forward

On Wednesday, the Times reported that ministers are planning to back loans of around £6 billion to energy companies.

The companies would then pass on this money to households, saving them around £200 off their energy bills each, in a rebate.

This would come alongside more targeted help, such as an expansion of the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The £6 billion figure, suggested to the Times by sources, is considerably lower than earlier estimates on how much it might cost to help out households through loans.

One figure that had been floated was as high as £20 billion.

Ministers have reportedly approved the plans.

Read more:

UK's low income households to be worst hit with rising energy prices

Energy price cap set to jump 50% as UK faces ‘years of boom and bust’ pricing

Food bills to rise by around £180 a year, shoppers warned

The new money will be a loan to energy companies and they will be expected to pay it back.

That means while customers are protected from the worst of April’s price rises, they will likely pay the same amount to their energy supplier in the long run.

The government has said it is already helping support vulnerable people caught up in the cist of living crisis.

Prime minister Boris Johnson told Parliament: “What we are doing is helping people with the cost of living and cutting taxes for those on Universal Credit, as I answered, helping propel with the cost of their fuel with the cold weather payments, the warm homes payments, doing all the things that this country would expect, lifting the living wage, which this party introduced, this Government has increased by a record amount, and above all the most important thing that we are doing is helping people into work.”

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 22: In this photo illustration Sterling British Pound GBP bank notes and coins are arranged, on January 22, 2022 in Bristol, England. The UK is currently facing a cost of living crisis, as inflation hits a near-30-year high and rising energy bills will squeeze household incomes still further. To add to the misery, many UK households face a further rises in home energy prices when the energy price cap is likely to be raised in April.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Households are suffering due to a cost of living crisis. (Getty)

Here's how to find out whether you are eligible for help and how to apply for the schemes

Winter Fuel Payment

Those born on or before 26 September 1955 could be eligible for between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

The Winter Fuel Payment is paid automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)

If you do not get either of these or live abroad, you may need to make a claim.

But if you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless a State Pension was deferred or moved abroad.

The deadline for claims for winter 2021 to 2022 is 31 March 2022.

Cold Weather Payment

You could be eligible for a Cold Weather 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 will receive £25 for each 7 days of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Those eligible for the payment include recipients of pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, universal credit and support for mortgage interest.

The scheme runs from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Warm Home Discount

Under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, some people are eligible for £140 off their electricity or gas bill for winter 2021 to 2022.

The money is a one-off discount between October and March and is not paid directly.

The discount does not affect cold weather payments or winter fuel payments.

Watch: Sir Keir Starmer compares Johnson and Sunak to Thelma and Louise