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8. Fuel Direct
The Fuel Direct scheme allows an amount to be deducted from your benefit entitlement and paid directly to your energy supplier. Fuel Direct is also known as part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ‘third party deduction system’.
To go onto the Fuel Direct scheme you must be in debt for mains gas or mains electricity and get universal credit (UC) or income support (IS), income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) or pension credit (PC). Deductions can be made from contribution-based JSA or contributory ESA if you have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to the means-tested version of the benefit – ie, where, if you were not receiving the contribution-based type of benefit, you would instead be getting the means-tested type at the same rate.1Sch 9 para 1(2) and (3) SS(C&P) Regs
The DWP and your energy supplier both have to agree to set up a Fuel Direct arrangement. The operation of Fuel Direct involves direct deductions from benefit for both current consumption and debt recovery.
Note: in April 2022, temporary changes were made to the Fuel Direct scheme so that deductions for current consumption could only start, or be increased, following an application from the claimant – ie, not from the supplier.2The Social Security Benefits (Claims and Payments) (Modification) Regulations 2022 No.428 The changes do not apply to deductions for fuel arrears. The scheme’s previous rules are due to applied again from April 2023.
1     Sch 9 para 1(2) and (3) SS(C&P) Regs »
2     The Social Security Benefits (Claims and Payments) (Modification) Regulations 2022 No.428 »