Winter can be a tough time if you live with sickle cell. Being cold can increase your chances of a crisis, so it’s really important to keep yourself as warm as possible.
We’ve collated a few resources to help you keep warm this winter.
Keep Warm Keep Well
The NHS has a the Keep Warm Keep Well campaign, which provides advice for staying warm, including information about reducing your energy bills, advice on keeping yourself and your home warm, and tips for staying healthy. You can download a Keep Warm Keep Well booklet from the government’s website.
Please remember to bundle up in your favourite jumper, and don’t be afraid to sleep under an extra blanket! Stay hydrated with a nice hot drink, which will help keep you even warmer.
Discounts and Payments
You may be eligible for some discounts if you’re on certain benefits. These discounts and payments will help keep your home warm throughout the cold winter months.
Winter Fuel Payment– This is a payment of between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills, depending on your financial circumstances. However, it’s only available to people born before 25 September 1957 .
Cold Weather Payment– During exceptionally cold snaps–when it’s been zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days–you could be eligible for a payment of £25 towards your energy bills if you’re receiving certain benefits. These benefits include income-related JSA or ESA, and Universal Credit.
You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2023 and 31 March 2024.
If you’re eligible, you’ll get these payments automatically. You do not need to apply, but you may need to tell Jobcentre Plus if you have a baby or if a child under 5 comes to live with you.
In Scotland there is no Cold Weather Payment. The Winter Heating Payment replaces it. This payment helps people on low income benefits who might have extra heating needs. It’s automatically paid once a year and does not depend on how cold the temperature gets.
The payment for winter 2023 to 2024 is £55.05.
Warm Home Discount Scheme– Most electricity providers are offering £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 if you’re receiving certain means-tested benefits.
The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount applied to your electricity bill between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024. You’ll usually get the discount automatically if you’re eligible. You only need to apply if you’re on a low income in Scotland. This may vary based on your supplier, so get in touch with them and ask if you’re eligible for money off your bills.
The Priority Services Register (PSR)
If your services are cut off, for example during a storm, it’s important that you or your family members living with sickle cell can stay warm. The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free UK wide service which provides extra advice and support, including when there’s an interruption to your electricity, gas or water supply. It is set up to protect people most impacted by interruptions to their energy supply.
The service is free to join. It helps utility companies, including energy suppliers, electricity, gas and water networks to look after customers who have extra communication, access or safety needs. It helps them tailor services to support households who need extra help with everyday energy matters like bills, and also in the event of a power cut, gas or water supply interruption.
Full details are on their website Priority Services Register
Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Sickle Cell Disorder
If you are worried about COVID-19, please check out our Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Sickle Cell Disorder page where we have collected the latest information and guidance, including the latest data on sickle cell, the COVID-19 vaccination, and more.
If you would like further information or support, please get in touch with our Helpline.
The SCS Helpline Service provides confidential information, guidance, and emotional support to individuals and families affected by sickle cell living within the UK.