What are third-party deductions and do I qualify?

If you’re on certain benefits and you’re having trouble paying off fuel debts, you can arrange to pay them direct from your benefits. These payments are known as third-party deductions and used to be known as ‘Fuel Direct’.

To qualify for the Third-Party Deduction Scheme you must be on one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

Every time your benefits are paid, £3.65 from each one will be taken off to pay off the debt you owe. An extra amount will also be taken to cover your bills in the future. This amount is decided by Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre. If it’s less than 25% of your benefits, the money can be deducted without you agreeing to it. You’ll be told what the amount is going to be, and if it’s going to change. If it’s going to be more than 25% of your benefits, you’ll be asked to agree to the deduction first.

Paying for your debt in this way is often cheaper and more convenient than paying through a pay-as-you-go meter.