What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

A Winter Fuel Payment is a one off payment given to older people during the winter. This payment will help pay for heating in their homes.

The amount you can get ranges between £100 and £300. It depends on your age and your personal circumstances.

The Winter Fuel Payment is different to the Cold Weather Payment. If you’re looking for more information on the Cold Weather Payment, you can read our article here:

https://www.jobcentrenearme.com/cold-weather-payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is not a means tested benefit, so it doesn’t matter how much you have in income or savings. If you currently claim benefits, it won’t affect those and the amount you get will stay the same.

All Winter Fuel Payments for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are processed centrally in England by the same authority. The information below applies no matter what part of the UK you live in.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, you must have been born before 5 November 1953.

You will also have to be living in the UK during the ‘qualifying week’. This is a week where the government starts processing the payment.

For 2018, the qualifying week is 17-23 September. You must be living in the UK during those 7 days to receive a Winter Fuel Payment this year.

You may still be eligible if you weren’t in the UK because:

  • You live in Switzerland or in the European Economic Area (EEA). There are some countries that don’t count, see below.
  • You have lived in the UK for most of your life, paid taxes and National Insurance Contributions. This is what the government call a ‘genuine link’ to the UK.
  • Who is not eligible?

    Most people who live in the EEA will be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment. There are some countries which will disqualify you from getting it. These countries are:

    • Spain
    • Cyprus
    • France
    • Gibraltar
    • Greece
    • Malta
    • Portugal

    These countries don’t count towards the Winter Fuel Payment. This is because they are usually much warmer than the UK, and so there is no need for extra heating during the winter.

    You will also not qualify if…

    • You were in an NHS hospital for over 12 months recently.
    • Your UK Visa says you can’t access public funds.
    • You were in prison or custody during the qualifying week.
    • You currently live in a care home and receive other benefits.

    If you find you’re not eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, you may be able to claim a Cold Weather Payment. You may also be eligible for some money under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. If you’re unsure, visit your local jobcentre.

    How to claim

    Most people won’t have to apply to receive a Winter Fuel Payment. The payment will come automatically if you already claim a state pension or benefit. You will receive the money into the same bank or building society account.

    Most automatic payments will come between November and December of this year. All payments will arrive by 14 January 2019. If you haven’t receive your payment by then, you should call your local jobcentre.

    The payment won’t come automatically if you claim any of these three benefits:

    • Universal Credit
    • Child Benefit
    • Council Tax Reduction
    • Housing Benefit

    You will have to make a manual claim for Winter Fuel Payment if you don’t receive a state pension or benefit.

    You can either do this by phone or by post.

    By phone:

    Do it by calling the Winter Fuel Payment Centre:

    0800 731 0160

    +44 191 218 7777

    0800 731 0464

    +44 191 218 7280

    (Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am-6pm)

    To apply by phone, you will need:

    • National Insurance number.
    • Bank or building society details.
    • BIC or IBAN numbers if you live outside the UK.
    • Your marriage or civil partnership date.
    • You also will need to confirm with the advisor where you were during the qualifying week.

    By post:

    If you’re going to apply by post, the form you need will depend on where you live.

    If you live in Scotland, England or Wales you can find the form here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-fuel-payment-claim-form

    If you live in Northern Ireland:

    https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/Winter-Fuel-Payment-claim-form-%28NI%29.pdf

    If you live in the EEA or Switzerland, you can find the form here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-fuel-payment-claim-form-eea-and-switzerland

    If you live in the UK, you can send the form to:

    Winter Fuel Payment Centre

    Mail Handling Site A

    Wolverhampton

    WV98 1LR

    If you live outside of the UK, you can send the form to:

    Winter Fuel Payment Centre

    Mail Handling Site A

    Wolverhampton

    WV98 1ZU

    UK

    The deadline for all manual applications for Winter 2018/19 is 31 March 2019. This means you have until Spring next year to make a payment for this Winter.

    How much you’ll get

    The amount you get depends on your personal circumstances and what age you are.

    As a general rule of thumb, if you’re under 80 you’ll get £200 this year. If you’re over 80, you’ll get £300. If you live with other people who also qualify for the payment, you’ll get less.

    How old you are and where you were during the qualifying week will determine how much you get.

    If you’re under 80

    • You live alone (or you live with somebody who is not eligible for a payment) – £200
    • You live with your partner and you both are eligible – £100
    • You live in a care home but don’t get any state benefits – £100
    • If you are over 80 (or born on or before 23 September 1938)
    • You live alone (or you live with somebody who is not eligible for a payment) – £300
    • You live with someone under 80 who is eligible – £200
    • You live with someone over 80 who is eligible – £150
    • You live in a care home but don’t get any state benefits – £150

    Exceptions:

    The amount you get in Winter Fuel Payments will be different if you or your partner receive any of these:

    • Pension Credit
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Income Support

    If you’re over 80

    • You qualify and live alone – £200
    • You and your partner both claim one of the benefits – £200 (to only one of you)
    • You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits above – Nothing

    How you’ll get paid

    You’ll get a letter saying how much you’re eligible for and what day you’re going to get your payment. This will come after the qualifying week.

    It will come into the same bank account you get your other benefits in. If you claimed by phone or post, you will need to provide bank or building society details.

    Change of circumstances

    You need to tell the government if anything changes, like with all other benefits. If you don’t, it might affect your payments.

    Contact office that pays your benefit if your details change. You’ll find their details on the letters they send you each month.

    Refused Winter Fuel Payment?

    If the government says you aren’t eligible for a Winter Fuel payment, you can challenge the decision. This is a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

    You can do this with any of the benefits the government offer.

    You need to be careful, as the time limits for challenging the decision are quite strict. You have one month from the rejection date to submit a challenge.

    Other tips

    Age UK is a registered charity that aims to support older people. They have a useful guide for staying warm in the winter, on top of getting a Winter Fuel Payment:

    https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/information-guides/ageukig27_winter_wrapped_up_inf.pdf

    Sources

    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Winter-Fuel-Payment/What-is-a-Winter-Fuel-Payment

    https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

    https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/the-winter-fuel-payment-helping-pensioners-keep-warm.html

    https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/winter-fuel-payment/

    https://sse.co.uk/help/energy/government-incentives/winter-fuel-payment