The Energy Assistance Scheme in Scotland
If you are in receipt of benefits or are over the age of 60, you could be entitled to financial assistance towards heating your home under the Government's 'Energy Assistance Scheme', which replaces the 'Energy Assistance Package' from 1 April 2013.
Under the scheme, all householders in Scotland can receive free advice on how to make the home more energy efficient, and cut down on heating costs. In addition to this, if you fulfill certain criteria, you could receive further help, such as free insulation, draught proofing or a new heating system or even an air source heat pump.
What is the Energy Assistance Scheme?
The Energy Assistance Scheme is backed by the Scottish Government, and administered by the Energy Saving Trust. It was set up to help people heat their homes more economically and effectively.
The package consists of four stages, as follows: -
Free advice on making the home more energy efficient is available to all householders.
Help in assessing whether you qualify for tax credits and benefits. Available help is dependent on personal circumstances, and if you qualify, the Energy Saving Trust could help you switch to the lowest tariff offered by your energy company.
If you are aged 70 plus and have never had central heating, are on benefits, or aged 75 plus, you could be entitled to loft insulation or cavity wall insulation in your home subject to certain requirements. To be eligible you must be a homeowner or the tenant of a private landlord.
If you are a homeowner or the tenant of a private landlord you could be entitled to free central heating and other measures to heat your home, as well as insulation. This applies if you have never had a central heating system in your home and you or your partner is over 60, or your home has a poor energy rating and you're in receipt of certain benefits.
Am I eligible?
Stage 1 is open to all householders, and stage 2 consists of help to see if you qualify for benefits, including help with filling in application forms for those over 60. Specific criteria apply to the other stages, as follows: -
Stage 3 - For stage 3 you must meet one of the following conditions:
- You or your partner is aged 75 plus
- You or your partner is aged 70 plus, and you do not have central heating in your home
- You are in receipt of benefits as set out in Government guidelines
There are specific rules under the package as to which homes need insulation.
Stage 4 - You will need to be living in the property, which must be your main home, for at least 12 months either as a homeowner or the tenant of a private landlord to qualify. If you are aged 60 plus and have never had a central heating system in your home, you may be eligible. For other people, your home must have a poor energy rating, with you or your partner in receipt of Carers' Allowance or you're on qualifying benefits and meet one of the following conditions:
- You or your partner are pregnant
- You have a child under 16 living in your household
- You or your partner are in receipt of the highest rate of care component, the higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance or war pension equivalents
- You or your partner are on benefits and aged 60 plus
- You or your partner are terminally ill and receive DS1500 certificate (in this case the 12 month ruling does not apply)
What benefits do I need to be on to apply?
- Child tax credit or working tax credit (within certain thresholds)
- Attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance
- Employment and support allowance
- Income support, income based jobseekers allowance
- Housing benefit
- Council tax benefit
- Industrial injuries disablement benefit (must include a constant attendance allowance)
- War disablement pension (must include a mobility supplement or a constant attendance allowance)
Eligibility won't be dependent on any of these qualifying benefits if you fall into the over 60 category and have no central heating.
If you're 75 or over then the eligibility criteria will be different. The Energy Saving Trust Scotland will be able to advise you accordingly.
How do I apply?
The first step in applying is to ring the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre for free on 0800 512 012.
An advisor will then ask you some questions about the heating systems in your home, and your circumstances, to determine whether you qualify for help, and if so, which type of help.
For more information visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland or if you have any questions about the Energy Assistance Scheme in Scotland call 0800 512 012.