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Seven ways to get help with energy bills worth up to £2,975 if you’re on Universal Credit

HOUSEHOLDS who claim Universal Credit can get help with energy bills worth up to £2,975.

Gas and electricity costs have soared but there is support available for families who get the benefit.

The energy price cap rose on April 1 adding an extra £700 on to the average annual bill.

If you're struggling there's extra help out there which could ease the bill pain.

It could be worth almost £3,000 in total, depending on your circumstances.

Here we explain what you could get if you're on Universal Credit and how to apply.

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New bill discount scheme – £200

The government has announced the every single household will get a £200 discount on their energy bill this year.

This is part of a package of support designed to help Brits struggling as costs rise and will be applied automatically, but not until October.

The money does have to be paid back, but it will be in the form of £40 added to annual bills over five years from next year.

Martin Lewis has explained how the scheme will work and that it's more like a levy than a loan – here's what he said.

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Council Tax rebate – £150

Around 80% of households will get a £150 council tax rebate to help with the rising cost of living.

You will be eligible if you live in a property in council tax bands A to D.

If you pay your bill by direct debit, your local authority will automatically credit the refund to your account from this month.

It will be paid after you've settled your council tax bill for April, so the exact date will vary.

If you pay by another method, you will have to apply for the refund through your local council.

Household support fund – up to £150

Local councils are giving out cash top help households struggling with bills and other essential costs.

How much you can get depends on where you live and in many areas getting Universal Credit means you qualify for the help.

The scheme was extended in March, so if you missed out last time, you've got another chance to apply.

For instance Runnymede council in Surrey was giving out £150 through the household support fund earlier this year.

To see what's available where you are, and to apply, you'll need to check your local council.

You can search for yours using the search tool on gov.uk – just enter your postcode.

Local councils also offer welfare assistance schemes all year round that can help you with bills.

Energy supplier grant – up to £750

Energy suppliers are offering cash grants to those hardest hit by bills rises.

For instance British Gas is giving out up to £750 through its hardship fund.

But the amount can vary according to your supplier and your circumstances.

It's not just Universal Credit claimants who can get the help, but if you're on the benefit and have a low income you could qualify.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF's energy customer support fund
  • E.on's energy fund
  • Npower's energy fund
  • Ovo's debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power's hardship fund

Warm home discount scheme – £150

You can get £150 off your energy bills with the Warm Home Discount scheme, which will open for applications later this year.

It was previously worth £140 but has been boosted by £10 for the next batch of payments.

The scheme is currently closed but you should keep an eye out for it launches again later in 2022.

Anyone on pension credit gets the bill discount automatically.

Others who are eligible because they are on a low income need to apply and this can include those on Universal Credit.

You will have to make a claim to your supplier.

Keep an eye out for when applications open from August.

Cold weather payment – up to £75

When temperatures plummet those in low incomehouseholds can get a £25 payment.

These cold weather payments have already been made in several locations where residents have experienced below zero weather.

The payment is made automatically, including to those on Universal Credit, for each seven day period of low temperatures between November 1 and March 31.

In the coldest areas three £25 payments have been made so far this winter, adding up to £75 in total.

See if your postcode has qualified for a payment and make sure you got it if you were eligible.

Grant for debt arrears – up to £1,500

You can apply for a grant to pay off arrears if you've fallen behind from the British Gas Energy Trust.

Anyone can apply, it's not just for British Gas customers, or only those on Universal Credit – but if you're claiming the benefit and are struggling you could be eligible.

It's for those living in England, Scotland or Wales, who have less than £1,000 in savings and are facing fuel poverty.

You also need to have sought help from a money advice agency, like Citizens Advice.

The amount you can get will depend on your need and grants of over £1,500 are for exceptional circumstances.

The scheme has closed for non-British Gas customers this year but it's worth keeping an eye out for when it reopens.

Check other benefits and help you can get

Just because you get Universal Credit, it doesn't mean that' s all you can get.

Millions of Brits are missing out on benefits they're entitled to adding up to billions of pounds in total.

Benefit calculators can help you check what you could be entitled to.

For instance you might get extra cash if you're looking after someone else or for housing costs.

There are several benefit checker tools you can use – here's our guide.

You could help like a council tax discount, cheaper internet or extra payments during the coldest weather – check out the full help you can get in out guide.

There's cash help for anyone struggling with rent that's available from your local council through the discretionary housing payment.

If you're worried about falling behind on bills. there are plenty of organisations where you can get advice for free, including:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

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