What is the Winter Fuel Payment and am I eligible?

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The Winter Fuel Payment is a state benefit paid once a year in the UK to qualifying elderly individuals, intended to cover the additional costs of heating over the winter months.

The Winter Fuel Payment is also referred to as ‘the winter fuel allowance’ or ‘heating allowance’ and constitutes a tax-free payment of between £100-£300 to help pay for heating bills.

This payment should not be confused with cold weather payments – which can be made in spells of particularly cold weather on a weekly basis – or the Warm Home Discount which is a rebate applied to electricity bills.

The Winter Fuel Payment was first introduced in 1997 by the Labour government to make energy for older people more affordable, originally announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in his Pre-Budget statement that year.

It’s enough to swell your pride in being British – the government looking after its older citizens with a cheque to make sure they’re warm in winter. Lovely.
Winter fuel payment eligibility

You’ll usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you’re eligible and you already get the State Pension or another social security benefit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

Eligibility

If you’re eligible but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim, so pay attention to the below.

  • You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both the following apply:
  • You were born on or before 5 April 1954 (as of July 2019 that is aged at least 65)
  • You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 16-22 September 2019 (if you did not live in the UK during that qualifying week you may still get the payment if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country, or you have a genuine link to the UK).

You will NOT qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if you:

  • Are in hospital receiving free treatment for more than a year.
  • Need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds.
  • Were in prison for the whole week of 16-22 September 2019.
  • Lived in a care home for the whole period of 24 June to 22 September 2019 and received Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

How much Winter Fuel Payment will you receive?

How much money you get for your Winter Fuel Payment depends on a number of factors. But remember any payment is tax-free and doesn’t affect your other benefits.

If you were born between 23 September 1939 and 5 April 1954 you’ll receive the following depending on your circumstances:

  • £200 – You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)
  • £100 – You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies
  • £100 – You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies
  • £100 – You qualify, live in a care home and do not get certain benefits

If you were born on or before 22 September 1939 you’ll receive the following depending on your circumstances:

  • £300 – You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)
  • £200 – You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies
  • £150 – You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies
  • £150 – You qualify, live in a care home and do not get certain benefits

It’s worth noting that your payment may be different if you or your partner receive benefits.

How to make a Winter Fuel Payment claim

To apply for Winter Fuel Payment for the first time, you’ll need to download an application form from the Direct Gov website.

However, if you aren’t able to use the internet you can get a claim form sent to you by calling the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 08007310160.

When calling you’ll need to know the following details:

  • National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society details
  • BIC and IBAN numbers (if you live in the EEA or Switzerland)
  • The date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate)

When you’ve received and completed the application, you can return it to the following address:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LR

When is the Winter Fuel Payment made?

You’ll get a letter telling you how much you are due to receive and an estimated payment date. Hurrah! Most payments are made automatically between November and December, when it’s getting chilly. If you receive other benefits, you’ll get your Winter Fuel Payment at the same time.

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