May 18 2013 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Winter is just around the corner and with it will come worries about the cost of paying for staying warm.
Many are concerned about rising fuel costs, but not heating your homes properly puts you at risk of cold-related illnesses such as pneumonia.
Age UK has compiled a list of ways that you could help you give yourself a warmer home without worrying about your fuel bills.
You can claim a Winter Fuel Payment which is an annual payment to help with heating costs, made to households with someone over Pension Credit age.
In winter 2012-13, you will be eligible if you are born before 6 July 1951. You will normally receive £200 if you are under 80, and £300 if you are 80 or over.
You will usually get less if you live with other people who also qualify.
You only need to claim once. After this, you should get it automatically each year, as long as your circumstances do not change.
To ask about your payment or make a claim‚ call the Winter Fuel Payments Helpline on 0845 915 1515.
You can also claim Cold Weather Payments which are made when the weather is very cold.
You can get an additional £25 a week when the average temperature has been‚ or is expected to be‚ 0°C or below for seven days in a row.
You will automatically receive a Cold Weather Payment if you get Pension Credit or certain other means-tested benefits.
There is also the Warm Front is a government-funded scheme in England which offers grants to provide homes with adequate heating and insulation. To be eligible, the property must be assessed as not being energy efficient.
You can apply if you receive certain benefits such as Pension Credit. Both homeowners and private tenants can apply. To find out more or to apply for a grant, call 0800 316 2805 or visit the energy grants section of the Directgov website.
There are also other ways to stay warm in your home.
*Staying active isn’t just good for your general fitness, it also generates heat and helps keep you warm. Walk around your home and spread your chores throughout the day.
*Hot meals and drinks throughout the day help keep you warm. It’s a good idea to have a hot drink before bed and keep one in a flask by your bedside.
*Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air.
*Keep warm at night by using a hot-water bottle or electric blanket in bed.