British Gas is one of the first to announce the elimination of social energy tariffs, but it won’t be the last. Letters have already gone out telling customers who had a social tariff that it will no longer be available after September 2013. Notice is being given to move to a standard tariff or select a different option. For children of pensioners who want to keep their parents warm this winter, it may mean another review of the household budget. Don’t assume you will have to pay extra just because a social tariff has been eliminated. You still can have other ways to make up the cost of heating for your elderly parent, if you just investigate more options.
Fuel Assistance Payments
Pensioners can still be eligible for other types of payment to offset fuel costs in the winter. The Winter Fuel Payment is just one type of fuel assistance available to pensioners. Depending on your parent’s eligibility or age, they may be able to claim between £100 and £300 to help pay their fuel bill this winter. Add a Cold Weather Payment claim and you can make even more. The Warm Home Discount scheme is also available for people who are not yet 60, if they claim certain social security benefits. This can help your parents who may be sick or disabled to also claim a £135 electric credit to help with winter payments. However, whether they are eligible or not will depend on the energy supplier’s requirements, not the official rules.
Advocate For Your Parents
You can help you parents find the cash they need to make up for the loss of the social energy tariffs. You can call up agencies to find out whether they can get more assistance, in the form of energy grants. Help is available online at www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/ or by phone for people trying to find new ways to save on heating their homes. Make sure that you register at any energy suppliers Priority Services Registry so that you can take control of this aspect of your elderly parent’s needs and get them priority service for their specific social needs, too. Otherwise, the energy companies will refuse to allow you access to the account.
Care Homes Are Another Option
It is always better to keep a person in their own home for as long as possible. However, should the loss of the social tariff and an inability to get onto other payment schemes happen, then a care home may be the solution. Care homes will remove the necessity to pay high fuel bills and will guarantee that the home will not be so cold as to endanger the residents. Care homes for the disabled or the infirm can help those with limited resources to have a warm place to stay during a very cold winter.
Move In Together
If you want to keep a closer eye on your elderly parent, then just move into the home for the winter. This can help offset heating costs for two houses, instead of just heating one. It will also make sure that your elderly parent does not keep the temperature too low for fear of paying too much on fuel bills. This is one way to make sure they also receive the personal care they need. Once the weather improves, you can go back to living in your own home for a while.
Find A Care Giver
Help two people with one problem. Find a care giver willing to stay with your elderly parent in exchange for paying for heating and rent. If your parent is disabled or infirm, they will need a specialized paid care giver who can provide some help in these areas. Having someone else in the home, whether it is you or a care giver, provides security against behaviours that thwart your intentions to take care of your parent, like turning off the heat deliberately to save money. It will also help to ensure that your parent is eating and wrapped up as best as possible against the winter cold weather. These are small behaviours that many elderly simply ignore and as the weather gets colder, they lose the sensitivity to know when that may eventually put their health in danger.
By following these simple tips it is possible to make up for the lack of social energy tariffs by still keeping the elderly safe and warm.
Laura Ginn understands the importance of making sure the elderly are warm and eating well when the weather turns colder. Check out the helpful free energy tips and advice on staying warm available on uSwitch.com.