A DISABLED dad has told how he no longer qualifies for £150 off of his bills because his home is too small.
James O’Grady, 44, has lost out on the energy bill discount because of a shake-up of a Government support scheme.
He had been receiving the Warm Home Discount for the last ten years – but is now being told he is no longer eligible because of the size of his house.
Changes to the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which knocks £150 off energy bills, have seen some people with smaller homes refused the support.
Eligibility for the Warm Home Discount depends on what benefits people receive and the size of their home.
Now Mr O'Grady and his wife Clare, who cares for him full time, say they will struggle to make ends meet.
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He told BirminghamLive: "Obviously things are hard, times are hard.
"People are losing their homes. The Government needs to prioritise (who it helps) but they are not doing it."
What is the Warm Home Discount?
The Warm Home Discount is an automatic £150 discount off energy bills, and payments began this month.
As it is a discount, no money is paid to you.
You'll need to be a recipient of one or more of the following benefits to qualify:
- Income support
- Income based jobseeker's allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Universal credit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credits
- Pension credit guaranteed
- Pension credit savings credit
A key element of the changes for 2022/23 concerns the size of properties. Bigger, older homes are generally harder to keep warm and that's where the Government is focusing in terms of support.
But it's left families in properties judged to be too small without cash they had been expecting to help them get through the winter during the worst cost of living crisis in decades.
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Mr O'Grady said: "I haven't decided to leave work, I had to leave work. If I could go back to work I would. I've got arthritis, Crohn's, I didn't ask to be given this.
"Money's tight, it's always going to be tight. It's £150 – it's not like loose change."
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, which made the changes, said: "Our reforms mean that more households in fuel poverty will benefit from the Warm Home Discount than ever before.
"An extra 780,000 pensioners and low-income families will benefit this year compared to last and it is awarded according to people’s financial circumstances.”
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