Winter Fuel Payment: how do I get the allowance? And am I eligible?
Also known as Winter Fuel Allowance, or Heating Allowance, Winter Fuel Payment is a Government scheme to help the elderly with their fuel bills.
It’s a bit different from the Warm Home Discount or Cold Weather Payment.
Even if it doesn’t apply to you, it’s worth knowing about so you can help an elderly relative or friend get the support on offer.
From health problems to higher energy bills, the elderly are hit the hardest by the colder weather.
They’re often the least equipped to deal with winter, so whether it’s for you, or for a family member, make sure you know what Government help is available.
The big way to keep on top of gas and electricity bills this winter is by switching energy on A Spokesman Said. On average, our users save £400!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment.
What is Winter Fuel Payment?
Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free sum of between £100 and £300 given to eligible households to help with fuel bills over winter.
Most payments are made automatically between November and December and should be issued by Christmas at the latest.
To qualify, you need to have been born on or before 5 May 1953 (more on this later).
If you receive the State Pension or another social security benefit (except for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Universal Credit or Child Benefit), you should get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically; if you don't, you'll need to make a claim.
The Payment won’t affect any other benefits you receive.
How much you get depends on your circumstance and can vary depending on your age and how many people you live with.
If you live alone and are aged 80 or over, for example, you receive the full whack of £300.
Am I eligible for Winter Fuel Payment?
You can receive Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 5 May 1953 (this is the date for this year but it changes every year), or if you’ll be living in Britain throughout the week of 19 to 25 September 2016.
It’s worth noting that you may also be able to get Winter Fuel Payment if you live in Switzerland, or a country in the European Economic Area, and have a genuine link to the UK.
Countries excluded from Winter Fuel Payment are Cyprus, France, Spain, Malta, Greece, Portugal and Malta.
If, for the week of 19 to 26 September, any of the following apply you also will not qualify:
* You get sent to prison
* Are in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks
* Require permission to enter the UK and aren’t eligible for help from the Department for Work and Pensions
* Have lived in a care home for the previous 12 weeks or more and receive Pension Credit, income-based Job-seeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
If something changes in your life like, like the benefits you claim, or you move house, for example, report it immediately.
How and when am I paid?
The Government should send you a letter outlining how much you’ll get and an estimated payment date.
As we mentioned earlier, most payments are made before Christmas.
Money will be paid directly into your bank or building society account, or you could receive it by cheque.
How do I claim Winter Fuel Payment?
If you’ve claimed before, you should get Winter Fuel Payment automatically from the organisation that pays your benefits.
Direct any questions you have to them - their details will be on letters they’ve sent you.
You can contact Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 03459 15 15 15.
Make sure you have your National Insurance number and bank account details to hand so they can look into your inquiry quicker.
You can also claim retrospectively for the years 97/98 and 99/2000 by downloading a claims form and sending it to:
Winter Fuel Payment Team
Department for Work and Pension
PO Box 22
What if I’m in a couple? Can we both get Winter Fuel Payment?
If your partner gets Job Seeker’s allowance, Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, Winter Fuel Payment will be paid to your household.
Couples that live together, and who both qualify for the scheme, can get shared payment, although this depends on the situation