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Millions of households given new deadline to qualify for £150 off their energy bills

People on benefits have longer to get £150 energy bill help this winter as the Government has extended the cut-off point.

The changes mean anyone signing up to certain benefits before August 21 may get £150 in Warm Home Discount payments.

The Warm Home Discount scheme is a one-off payment worth £150 that is given to the poorest households to help with energy bills each winter.

Before this year people had to apply to their energy firm to get the discount.

The Warm Home Discount is now given out to qualifying people who were getting certain benefits by July 31.

But that deadline has now been extended to August 21.

There are two groups of people this applies to – pensioners and lower-income customers.

The first group is known as “core group one” and the second as “core group two”.

Pensioners will be in “core group one” if they get the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions tells energy firms if their customers get Pension Credit and so deserve the £150.

“Core group two” is made up of people on the following benefits:

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income Support
Universal Credit
Housing benefit
Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits
Pension Credit Savings Credit

However, just because you get these benefits, it does not automatically mean you get the £150 Warm Home Discount.

The way it works is that the Government looks at what sort of property you live in, then checks your benefits to spot people with low incomes in homes that are costly to heat.

It then tells energy firms if they have customers that need the £150 payments as a result.

Energy firm Utilia said: “As with previous years, there are two groups eligible for the Warm Home Discount, Core Group 1 and new Core Group 2.

“You’ll need to qualify for this criteria on 21 August 2022 to be eligible.”

Earlier this year The Mirror reported that the number of disabled people not able to get the Warm Home Discount this year was 290,000 – up from an original 210,000.

The move was criticised by disability charity Scope, who called it an “insult” and called on the government to reverse the decision.

The changes mean many people claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) were no longer eligible for Warm Home Discount payments.

Government documents justified the decision by saying more people would benefit overall.

These documents say that while the “overall proportion of recipients with a long term illness or disability reduces under the proposed reforms, it is still higher than the proportion of fuel poor with a disability, and the proportion of the overall population with a disability”.