Can vulnerable households miss out because of the Boiler Scrappage Scheme?

As the government’s Boiler Scrappage Scheme heads into its second week, questions have arisen about vulnerable households who may end up worse off because of it.

The doubt has arisen because under the government’s own Warm Front scheme, pensioners and those on a low income or benefits are eligible to financial assistance for buying and installing a new boiler. The maximum amount available is £3,500, and in many cases this will cover the entire cost of replacing a boiler.

If however they apply for the new Boiler Scrappage Scheme, where a £400 rebate is available, they will forfeit the money they receive from Warm Front. This is likely to confuse many such households, who may end up applying for it and receiving less than their entitlement.

There is also a clause in the Boiler Scrappage scheme which means anyone over the age of 60 can apply for it whether their boiler works or not. This could result in many pensioners applying for their £400 rebate oblivious to the fact that they cannot apply to Warm Front as well.

The advice for households on benefits or a low income is to apply to the Warm Front scheme where they are likely to get more financial help. If they are unsuccessful they can still apply for the Boiler Scrappage one. The Warm Front scheme works by assessing household needs and income levels, and pays out accordingly.

Pensioners on benefits are also being advised to apply to Warm Front. The fuel poverty expert at Help The Aged, Mervyn Kohler, said ‘If you are a pensioner in receipt of benefits you are likely to be eligible for Warm Front, which can give you a whole new heating system and insulation. If you are not claiming means-tested benefits then we’d recommend you apply for the boiler scrappage scheme’.

It would seem vulnerable households could end up losing out on the £3,500 available from Warm Front, unless they are fully advised on their best course of action. If you think you may be entitled to either of these schemes, it is wise to do some reading up on them to avoid any confusion and before applying. Further information is available from the following websites:
Find out how the scheme works, and whether you are eligible.
For news and advice energy efficiency, and the Boiler Scrappage scheme.