Winter Wellbeing – are there benefits you could be accessing?
November 23, 2017
Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter. This week, we urge residents to access the appropriate benefits.
Thousands of Cheshire East residents could be missing out on the extra financial support that they are entitled to – with benefits available to help you during the colder months.
In some circumstances, the council can access funding for heating repairs, replacement boilers and first time central heating systems. There are a number of ways you may qualify, including some welfare benefits, a combination of low income and high heating costs or certain health conditions, which are made worse by the cold.
Support includes the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) scheme, which gives people receiving certain income related benefits the opportunity to get help with insulating and heating their home.
The funding is provided by the large energy suppliers and in Cheshire East there is ‘flexible eligibility’, which means the scheme can be extended to include people who are at risk of fuel poverty or who are vulnerable to the cold.
If you are a homeowner or private tenant, contact the council’s housing standards and adaptations team on 0300 123 5017 to find out if you are eligible.
For free and impartial advice about energy saving measures, grants and discounts, contact the Save Energy Advice Line on 0800 043 0151.
They will be able to signpost you to companies offering help with funding for heating and insulation.You don't always have to be on a low income to access help – there are many schemes available offering free or discounted insulation.
The council's care and repair service provides support to older, disabled and vulnerable people to improve their homes so they are safe and warm. The service includes accessing Affordable Warmth Grants for heating, and helping to organise the works. For more information, visit the care and repair page.
If you were born on or before August 5, 1953, a winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 tax-free is available to help you pay your heating bills.
Most payments are made automatically between November and December if you get the state pension or another social security benefit. If you qualify, but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim by calling 03459 151515 before 31 March 2018.
A Cold Weather Payment may also be available to you if you receive certain benefits. Payments are made automatically when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of 0C or below over seven consecutive days.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: “Making your home more energy efficient will save you money on your fuel bills and will also improve your health by making your home warmer.
“There is support available to help you cover the costs of winter so make sure you are accessing the relevant benefits and payments. If you think you may be eligible for schemes, don’t delay making an enquiry.”
For further winter wellbeing advice, visit Live Well Cheshire East and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Further information about winter-related benefits can be found under the ‘stay warm’ tab.
Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page and on Twitter at: @CheshireEast
Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.