Monday, 17 December 2012

Extra help with energy if you're vulnerable or on a low income



Extra help with energy if you're vulnerable or on a low income

You may be classed as vulnerable if you are:
  • a pensioner
  • disabled
  • chronically ill
  • unable to look after your own welfare or living with someone who is unable to look after their own welfare
If you fall into one of these categories, or are on a low income, you may be able to get extra help with managing your gas and electricity services or paying the bills.
This page outlines the different schemes available to vulnerable and low-income customers and explains who can access them.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register is run by energy suppliers and offers free services for older people and those with disabilities. These include priority reconnection following a power cut, a service to take regular meter readings if you’re unable to do it yourself, and bills tailored to your needs, including large print and Braille. You need to register with your supplier to take advantage of the services offered.
More information on the Priority Services Register and how to get your name listed

Extra help with bills in the Winter

There are several government schemes which offer extra help with higher bills during the winter months. These are:

The Winter Fuel Payment

If you are of the state pension age during the qualifying week (which always begins on the third Monday of September), or live with someone born on or before that date, you may be able to get the Winter Fuel Payment. It is also often known as the Winter Fuel Allowance.
More information on the Winter Fuel Payment and how to claim it

The Warm Home Discount Scheme

Many pensioners and people on certain benefits can get an automatic rebate on their electricity bills.
More information on the Warm Home Discount Scheme and how to find out if you’re eligible

Cold Weather Payments

Cold Weather Payments can help people who get certain benefits with their additional heating costs if it is very cold during the winter.
More information on Cold Weather Payments and to find out if you’re eligible
If you’re eligible for any of these benefits you should get them automatically. Find out what benefits you’re entitled to.

Grants and schemes for home insulation

You can reduce your energy bills by making sure your home is well insulated. There are a number of schemes from energy companies and the government to help pay for the costs. If you are a vulnerable customer or on a low income, you may even qualify for free or discounted insulation.
More information on grants and schemes available for home insulation

Help if you’re in debt to your energy supplier


If you are a pensioner, have long-term ill health, are disabled or have severe financial problems you may also have extra protection from being disconnected. If you have been disconnected, or are threatened with disconnection, you should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
If you’re on certain benefits, you may also be able to the Fuel Direct scheme. This allows you to  have your energy payments taken directly from your benefits. Contact your Jobcentre Plus or pensions office to find out whether you are eligible.
For help finding your local Jobcentre Plus or pensions office, visit the Directgov website at www.direct.gov.uk.
In Northern Ireland, you can find your local Jobs and Benefits office from www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Next steps

Get more help and advice on what to do if you’re having trouble paying your energy bills or are in debt to your supplier
Make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to
If you need more help

More information about help with energy

The Home Heat Helpline


The Home Heat Helpline is a service for vulnerable customers struggling to pay their bills. It is funded by the energy suppliers, and provides information on grants, payment schemes and benefits that may be available as well as basic advice about energy efficiency.
Telephone: 0800 336699 (freephone)
Website: www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

The Energy Saving Trust

The Energy Saving Trust has a searchable database of grants and schemes, along with an online home energy check to find out where you could make savings on your bills. You can also contact your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre for help:
Telephone: 0800 512 012 (freephone)
Website: www.est.org.uk

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.