Information on financial support and benefits available for kinship carers to help pay for the cost of caring for a child.
Help with energy bills
Find out what help is available to help you cope with rising energy bills.
We know that many kinship carers worry about energy bills particularly in winter. We hope the suggestions below will help keep your home warm and make you aware of the types of support available to you.
The Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund was launched by the UK Government in October 2021 to support households who may struggle to keep warm this winter. The fund runs until 31 March 2024.
It helps with the cost of essentials (e.g. energy, clothing, food), and the funds are allocated by your local authority. Call or check your local authority webpages for further information on how to apply if you are eligible. You can also contact your local councillor or MP who should have access to the details of the scheme.
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment.’ Most people get the payment automatically if they’re eligible.
Cold Weather Payments
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain benefits or support for mortgage interest. You will get a 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 get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2023 and 31 March 2024.
Warm Home Discount
You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2023 and March 2024.
Free insulation and boiler grants
There are many grants on offer from energy providers, which can help with new boilers or loft and cavity wall insulation. These grants are for those receiving certain benefits, such as universal credit, tax credits, pension credit or income-based benefits.
There are two schemes:
If your electricity is cut off
If you have an unplanned power cut, call 105 (free) to report it. You will be connected to your local electricity network operator’s emergency line. You can also call 105 if you spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put you, or someone else, in danger. If there is a serious immediate risk, you should also call the emergency services.
Tell your energy supplier if you need extra support
Pensioners or people with disabilities or health conditions can apply to join their electricity network’s Priority Services Register to receive extra help. For example, your supplier might agree to make your call a priority when you contact them, help reconnect your gas supply if you need it, or receive extra support during a power cut.
Reduce damp and condensation
When it is cold, condensation can be a big problem in many homes. See below for tips in reducing damp and condensation:
- Try to keep temperatures in all rooms above 15°C in colder weather. This will reduce condensation forming on outside walls
- Insulate your home
- Keep your home ventilated. Make sure vents and air bricks are not covered or obstructed
- Try not to dry washing in the house. If you do, use an airer and do not dry clothes on radiators. Opening windows slightly will allow moisture to escape but be aware of security
- Open window trickle vents during the day or when going out
- Wipe down windows/mirrors/tiles/shower with an absorbent cloth
- Open windows after bathing or washing and leave them open for a short while to release steam if it is safe to do so
Check if you can increase your income
You may be able to increase your income by checking you are receiving the correct benefit entitlement. Not only could this increase your income, but it could also make you eligible for other types of assistance.
You can use the Turn2us or Entitledto benefit calculators to check your entitlement. Before you start, collect together information about your savings, income, pension, childcare payments, and any benefits that you or your partner are currently receiving.