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  1. 1. Overview
  2. 2. Benefits that are public funds
  3. 3. Public funds - exceptions
  4. 4. Mixed households
  5. 5. EEA nationals and family members
  6. 6. Returning to the UK, benefit delays and sanctions
  7. 7. Benefits that are not public funds
  8. 8. Access to work
  9. 9. Cost of living support

Cost of living support

The Government has provided certain people with additional support to meet their energy costs in Winter though the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Due to the rising costs of energy, fuel, food, and other services, the Government has introduced additional measures to relieve some of these cost of living pressures. This includes the Energy Rebate Scheme, which comprises of the Council Tax Rebate and the Energy Bills Support Scheme. 

Energy Bills Support Scheme (October 2022)

All households with a domestic electricity connection will be automatically eligible for a £400 government grant through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The grant will be paid from October 2022. Households will not need to apply for the grant, as this will appear as an automatic credit on their energy bill from their energy supplier. The grant will not need to be repaid.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme is not a 'public fund' for immigration purposes. As the grant is being applied directly to all energy customers, it can be accessed by a person with no recourse to public funds. 

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme provides people who are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit with a £150 discount off their electricity (or, in some cases, gas) bill between October and March. The discount is administered by the energy provider. 

Energy customers who do not get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but are on a low income may be able to apply to their energy provider for a discount.

Each energy company will set their own qualifying criteria to determine who can receive the discount. However, for the 2022-23 scheme, the government guidance states that low-income households will only be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • your energy supplier is part of the scheme
  • you (or your partner) get certain means-tested benefits or tax credits
  • your property has a high energy cost score based on its characteristics
  • your name (or your partner's) is on the bill. 

Although the Warm Home Discount Scheme is not a 'public fund' for immigration purposes, the qualifying criteria requires an energy customer to be in receipt of a means-tested benefit. Therefore, people with no recourse to public funds are unable to qualify for a discount, unless their energy provider had set criteria that included low-income customers who were not in receipt of benefits. 

Other cost of living support

Other cost of living payment and support that have been announced by the Government are either 'public funds' or are only available to a person who is in receipt of benefits.

Therefore, the following measures will not be available to a person with no recourse to public funds:

  • £650 Cost of Living payment for those on benefits
  • £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
  • £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment
  • Winter Fuel Payment
  • Cold Weather Payment