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A complete guide to the UK Winter Fuel Payment

We answer every question you have on the Winter Fuel Payment.

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What is the Winter Fuel Payment? 

The winter fuel payment is a government-paid, once-a-year benefit for those who are eligible. It is intended to cover the higher costs of gas and electricity over the winter months, to help people over a specific age pay their utility bills. 

In this guide, we’ll cover exactly who’s eligible to receive the winter fuel payment, who isn’t, how much people are likely to receive if they qualify and at what point in the year the benefit will be paid.  

Who is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment? 

Not everyone is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, and before you try and apply, it’s crucial you know whether or not you qualify for the winter allowance to avoid disappointment. 

Meeting the Winter Fuel Payment age requirement is the first thing you should check to make sure you're eligible to receive payment. If you were born on or before 5th October 1954, you could receive the winter allowance. 

The second step in eligibility is your living arrangements. If you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of the 21st to 27th September 2020, you’ll qualify for the winter fuel allowance. This week is commonly referred to as the “qualifying week.” 

If you did not live in the United Kingdom during the qualifying week, you might still be eligible to apply for the winter fuel allowance if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA), or you have a sufficient enough link to the UK, such as having previously worked there or you have family there. 

If you were born on or before 20th September 1940 you will be eligible for a higher payment, and this is something we will cover under “How much is the Winter Fuel Payment” below using a table. 

Who is not eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment? 

Anyone who was born after 5th October 1954 is, of course, ineligible to receive the Winter Fuel Payment benefit from the Government because they have not met the required Winter Fuel Payment age. 

There are some other criteria which will also cause you not to qualify, such as: 

  • If you are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
  • If you were in prison during the entirety of the qualifying week (21st to 27th September)
  • If you need permission to enter the United Kingdom
  • If you lived in a care home for the whole duration between 21st to 27th September 2020, and received Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

How much is the Winter Fuel Payment? 

If you are eligible for the winter fuel allowance benefit, you could receive anywhere between £100 and £300 to help you pay for your utility bills. Although the amount you’ll receive if eligible can vary between person to person, and depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week (21st to 27th September). 

Below is a table telling you how much money you can expect from the Government for your winter allowance: 

 

Born on or before

You qualify and:5th October 195420th September 1940
Live alone (or with no-one who qualifies)£200£300
Live with someone under 80 who also qualifies£100£200
Live with someone over 80 who also qualifies £100£150
Live in a care home and do not get certain benefits£100 £150

If you or someone you live with gets certain benefits, your payment could differ to the areas mentioned in the table above. These certain benefits include: 

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

If you receive any of the following benefits, please see the revised table below: 

 

Born on or before

You qualify and:5th October 195420th September 1940
Get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)£200£300
Get one of the benefits, and live with someone who also gets one of the benefits£200 (only one of you will get the payment)£300 (only one of you will get the payment)
Live in a care home and get one of the benefitsN/AN/A

How will I be paid the Winter Fuel Payment? 

If you are eligible to receive winter fuel allowance paid by the Government, you should automatically receive it - there is no application process to go through in order to apply for it in order to prove you qualify for it. 

You’ll receive a letter telling you how much you’re eligible to get from the Government, and a likely date you should expect to receive it. Most payments will be made between November and December, but if you receive any other form of benefit, your winter fuel allowance will be paid at the same time.

What should I do if I didn’t receive my Winter Fuel Payment?

If you haven’t received your Winter Fuel Payment and qualify for it, don’t worry - sometimes it can take a while for the payment to come through. However, if you haven’t received your winter fuel allowance by 13th January 2021, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. Below are the same contact details that can be found on GOV.UK under the Winter Fuel Payment section.   

Winter Fuel Payment Centre contact details: 

Telephone number: 0800 731 0160 

Overseas telephone number: 0191 218 7777

Textphone: 0800 731 0176

Overseas textphone: 0191 218 7280

Relay UK (if unable to hear or speak): 18001 then 0800 731 0160

(Lines are open between 9am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday)  

Do I need to claim for the Winter Fuel Payment? 

Normally you will not have to claim your winter fuel allowance because it is paid alongside other benefits, such as your state pension. However, there are some circumstances where you’ll have to apply if you're eligible. These circumstances are as follows: 

  • You do not get any benefits
  • You do not receive a state pension
  • You only get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit

If you’ve deferred your state pension, you’ll need to claim for your Winter Fuel Payment. If you discover you do need to claim in order to receive your winter fuel allowance, then you can contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre using their contact details that have been listed above. 

Before you call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, you’ll need to have with you the following things: 

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your bank or building society details
  • If you live in an EEA zone or Switzerland, your BIC and IBAN numbers
  • The date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if applicable)

You will also be asked some questions about where you were during the qualifying week of 21st to 27th September, such as whether you were in hospital, in a care home or serving a court sentence in custody. 

If you’re claiming via post for the first time, you’ll need to download and print out the Winter Fuel Payment claim form for UK residents. If you meet the criteria to claim overseas, you’ll need to download and print out the Winter Fuel Payment claim form for Switzerland and EEA.

If you’re applying for the Winter Fuel Payment in the UK via post, send to the following address: 

Winter Fuel Payment Centre

Mail Handling Site A

Wolverhampton

WV98 1LR

If you’re applying for the Winter Fuel Payment overseas (Switzerland and EEA), send to the following address: 

Winter Fuel Payment Centre

Mail Handling Site A

Wolverhampton

WV98 1ZU

UK

Is the Winter Fuel Payment taxable? 

The Winter Fuel Payment is one of many tax-free state benefits. Visit GOV.UK to see the full list of tax-free state benefits, along with the taxable benefits. 

I’m not eligible, but I need help paying my winter energy bills

If you’re not eligible to receive a winter fuel allowance but are worried about the increase in energy-use when the colder weather comes in, there are other Government schemes that you could benefit from. 

Cold Weather Payment

If eligible, you could receive £25 every week of very cold weather between 1st November and 31st March to help you pay your gas and electricity bills. After each cold weather period, a payment will be paid to you within 14 working days. 

You’ll be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment is you’re already getting: 

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Income-based Job-Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

If you qualify for it, the Cold Weather Payment should be paid to you automatically and will start on 1st November 2020. 

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme could see you save £140 off your winter electricity bill across 2020 and 2021. This state benefit is different from both the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment, as it is not directly paid to you, but instead applied as a one-off discount to your electricity bill between September and March. 

There are two ways you can be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, and they are as follows: 

  • If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (core group)
  • If you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme

How you apply for the Warm Home Discount depends on how you qualify. If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you’ll qualify if your energy supplier is part of the scheme and your name or your partner’s is on the bill. 

If you meet the requirements above you’ll receive a letter between October and December 2020, which will say whether you need to call a helpline to confirm your details. Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by 31st March 2021.

If you do not receive your letter, contact the Warm Home Discount helpline:

Telephone number: 0800 731 0214

(Lines are open between 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday) 

If you qualify through low income, your energy supplier also has to be part of the scheme. To make sure you get the discount, you’ll need to stay with your supplier until the Warm Home Discount has been applied to your energy bill. 

As for the application process, it’s entirely up to your supplier who can get the discount, so we advise contacting as early as possible to see if you’re eligible and how to apply. 

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