HOUSEHOLDS across the country can receive cold weather payments that will save them hundreds of pounds per year.
The price of energy bills for the average family standing at £1,834 a year, representing a challenge for many households.
Luckily, there's a host of help available for hard-up Brits right now – here are a few ways you can keep your bills down.
COLD WEATHER PAYMENT
The cold weather payment is dished out when temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees or below, on average, for seven consecutive days.
When temperatures drop between November 1 and March 31, eligible Brits are entitled to extra money to heat their homes.
You get £25 for each seven-day period where the weather is below zero Celsius on average during this time frame.
You can check if your area has had a cold weather payment by popping your postcode into the government's tool on its website.
DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENT
You may be able to get Discretionary Housing Payment if you are entitled to Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit.
There's a similar scheme of the same name in Scotland which can also provide support for housing costs, but with different eligibility criteria.
If the benefits you're currently getting still don't cover the cost of your housing then you may be eligible.
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The payment is discretionary, which means that the financial support given out is decided on case by case basis.
Typically, your energy company will work out the cost of your energy for the year ahead and divide this into 12 equal payments.
To smooth things out over the period and avoid high bill shocks in the winter, customers are more likely to build up credit during the warmer summer months.
In his blog, Martin Lewis wrote: "Monthly direct debits are based on an estimate of usage, and these estimates can be dire, leaving many unnecessarily overpaying with too much credit or underpaying and getting into energy debt."
WINTER FUEL PAYMENT
The winter fuel payment is usually worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.
But payments are being boosted by a further £300 through the "pensioner cost of living" payment.
The cash boost is set to be distributed with the usual Winter Fuel Payments from November 1. Payments will start from this date and should be complete by the end of December.
HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT FUND
The cash is dished out from a pot of £842million by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Depending on where you live you could be in line for up to £1,000 in cash or vouchers.
The fund is usually given out based on your financial circumstances and what benefits you receive.
It's designed to help the most hard-up families struggling with the cost of living.
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But what is the Household Support Fund, and how do you apply for the help? Below we explain all you need to know.
COST OF LIVING PAYMENTS
You may be entitled to up to 3 Cost of Living Payments of £301, £300 and £299 if you get any of the following benefits: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
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