LBC caller says he will 'go hungry' this winter as energy bills go up
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To qualify for the support, Britons must claim certain Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits. These benefits include Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Pension Credit, or Employment and Support Allowance. Britons could also qualify if there is a “special circumstance” which could make them eligible.
An example is if they have experienced an income reduction due to illness.
ScottishPower state that all applications will be assessed to see if a person is eligible.
ScottishPower also stated that the terms and conditions for the Hardship Fund are subject to change.
The Hardship Fund can help Britons by clearing or reducing arrears or by crediting a customer’s ScottishPower energy account.
The amount a person will receive is dependent on their circumstance.
To find out if a person is eligible, people must have previously contacted a debt agency charity such as StepChange.
StepChange can first advise on how a person can manage their debts and can help a person apply through the online form if the charity believes they are eligible.
To access the help, people will need to make their application to Sigma Connected Support.
This is the group that administers the ScottishPower Hardship Fund.
The group will look at a person’s circumstances to decide how much will need to be given.
Sigma Connected Support stated that Britons will also need to supply “evidence of financial hardship”.
This could be recent letters from the DWP in regard to certain benefits and financial support.
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If Sigma Connected Support decides a person should receive a partial or full award towards the debt, a person’s ScottishPower energy account will be credited with the award.
The award will be paid once a person commits to a payment arrangement plan for their ongoing energy use.
Sigma Connected Support will then contact the person to confirm that credit has been applied to their account.
People can also apply for the fund by phone if they prefer by contacting Sigma Connected Support on 0121 285 2595.
People can also apply by email after downloading the application form on Sigma Connected Support’s website.
Several energy companies are offering support funds to help those who are unable to pay.
These include British Gas and Octopus Energy.
Currently, there are two schemes available which are operated by the British Gas Energy Trust.
One of these schemes is exclusively open to customers while the other is available to non-customers.
For non-customers, the “Individuals and families fund” gives out up to £1,500 in support for eligible households.
Octopus Energy has its Octo Assist fund – additional support it offers to its own customers – from £2.5million to £7million.
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