Winter can be an expensive time of the year with heating and electricity costs rising along with the extra expense that Christmas brings. It is important to make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to.
Are you struggling to pay your Council Tax?
Before you contact us, you may wish to:
- Check if you qualify for a discount, or exemption: www.mybostonuk.com/council-tax/can-i-reduce-my-council-tax/
- Apply for Council Tax Support if you are in receipt of Universal Credit or Housing Benefits, or have a low income: www.mybostonuk.com/council-tax/council-tax-support/
- Consider how to resolve the problem – we may be able to offer payment options which are easier for you: www.mybostonuk.com/council-tax/paying-your-council-tax/
If you are struggling to pay your instalments, please contact us. To discuss an alternative payment plan or ways that we may be able to help, call the Council Tax team on 01205 314 200.
Are you having difficulty paying your rent?
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit Housing Costs or Housing Benefits, you may qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help with your rent.
It is important that you speak to your landlord as soon as possible if you are not going to be able to pay your rent, or you are going to be late making payment.
Reducing your utility bills
Energy saving improvements
You might be able to get help from your energy supplier to make your home more energy efficient.
- The Green Homes Grant is also available to eligible households for insulation. To check eligibility see www.mybostonuk.com/climatechange or call 07385 025273.
If you rent your home from a Registered Housing Provider you should contact them direct in the first instance.
Householders are advised to take care if cold-called by companies offering insulation as some unscrupulous companies are contacting residents, often by telephone, offering insulation, including spray foam loft insulation and other services for excessive prices. Some scammers are falsely claiming that they are working with local councils to offer all types of insulation and the work could be covered by grant schemes. Residents are urged to obtain more than one quotation for work on your home and to try to use a company recommended by trusted friends or family, or to use a council run scheme. Don’t feel pressured to proceed with works before checking if they are genuinely required.
Switch energy supplier
You could save on your gas and electricity bills each year by changing your supplier.
If you rent your home, you won’t need your landlord’s permission to switch unless they pay your energy bills. However, it’s a good idea to let them know who the new supplier is when you move out.
Price comparison sites are the easiest way to look at the deals from different suppliers. For example:
You can also use The Energy Switch to get cheaper energy prices. The idea is that rather than switching your provider as an individual, residents use their combined buying power across our community to negotiate cheaper prices with energy companies. Find more information about this here https://www.mybostonuk.com/housing/my-home-owner-occupier/energy-switch-owner/
Community Lincs (part of YMCA Lincolnshire) run a scheme to help get cheaper prices for heating oil, take a look here https://communitylincs.com/heating-oil-lincolnshire/
Reduced tariffs with Anglian Water
If you’re recovering from an illness, or going through other life changes affecting your finances, Anglian Water’s Extra Care Support Team is available to help. They can be contacted on 0800 169 3630, and can discuss personalised payment plans and reduced tariffs. Further information can also be found at www.anglianwater.co.uk/help-and-advice/water-care/extra-care-support.
Grants and discounts towards the cost of heating your home
You may be eligible for discounts and grants if you’re an older person or have a low income.
Warm Home Discount
You might qualify for a £140 discount on your electricity bill in winter if you either:
- have a low income
- receive the guarantee element of pension credit
- claim certain other benefits
You can also call the scheme’s helpline on 0800 731 0214 for more information.
Cold weather payments
You may qualify for cold weather payments if you get:
- pension credit
- income support
- income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- income-related employment and support allowance
- universal credit
The payments are made when temperatures drop below freezing in your area for 7 days in a row between the beginning of November and the end of March.
You receive £35 for each 7-day period.
You don’t need to apply. Payments are made automatically.
Winter fuel payment
The winter fuel payment is a grant of £100 to £300 to help older people with energy bills in winter. To qualify for the payment, you must have been born on or before 5 November 1953.
How much you get depends on your age, if you receive certain benefits and if you live alone or with others.
Help with budgeting and managing finances
There are many agencies available to offer advice and support on debt and finances.
Independent advice is available from the following:
- Citizens Advice gives free, independent advice helping to resolve legal, money and other problems
- National Debtline offer advice on how to deal with debt problems
- StepChange give advice, support or solutions to resolve your debt problems
- Money Helper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. Their advice is free and confidential.