What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

As we head towards Autumn, the days are becoming noticeably shorter and temperatures are already starting to get colder. Alongside this entirely natural seasonal cycle is, for many of us, an increasingly stressful and entirely man-made cycle. This is the balancing act between keeping bills as low as possible and maintaining a warm home and the lights on. To alleviate some of the anxiety that can stem from increased fuel bills, the Government introduced the Winter Fuel Payment. This is usually paid automatically and exists to provide a one-off payment to eligible and often vulnerable people to lighten the burden of paying increased gas and electricity costs in the winter months.

To find out if you are entitled to this payment, read on to see if the eligibility criteria applies to you:

  • You were born on or before 5th October 1954.
  • You resided in the UK for at least one day during the qualifying week, currently set between 21st and 27th September 2020.

If you were living outside of the UK during this qualifying week you may still be eligible for the payment if:

  • During this time, you lived in Switzerland or an eligible European Economic Area (EEA) country.

And.

  • You have a strong and genuine link to the UK. This could include having family members that currently reside in the UK or you yourself may have lived or worked in the UK previously.

There are several exceptions to which EEA countries qualify for this payment and they are excluded because average winter temperatures significantly exceed those in the UK. The excluded countries are Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

If you are eligible in accordance with the criteria laid out above and you are already in receipt of a state pension or an alternate social security benefit that is not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit, then this payment should be made to you automatically. If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria above and do not automatically receive the winter fuel payment, then you can make a manual claim by phone or by post.

By phone:

Telephone: 0800 731 0160
Telephone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: 0800 731 0176
Textphone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7280

By post (Print and fill out relevant form from gov.uk website):

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

If you are claiming from an eligible EEA country or Switzerland.

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1ZU
UK

For those that qualify, the payment received will differ depending on individual circumstances. Payments range from £100-£300 in accordance with the table below and are completely tax-free:

Table 1.Born on or after 21 September 1940 and before 5 October 1954Born on or before 20 September 1940
Live alone or with others that do not qualify.£200£300
Live with someone under 80 that also qualifies.£100£200
Live with someone over 80 that also qualifies.£100£150
You live in a care home and do not receive any of the benefits below*£100£150

*Benefits received by an individual, or an individual’s partner that may impact on the Winter Fuel Payment:

– Pension Credit.

– Income-based jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

– Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

– Income Support.

If you or your partner receives any of these benefits, you can still be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment but the amount you receive may be affected. If you live alone and receive one of the benefits listed above, the payment is exactly the same as those laid out in table 1.

However, if you are living with someone who also meets the criteria for the payment and both of you receive one of the other benefits, the payment will stand at £200 or £300 (depending on date of birth) but only one of you can claim.

If you are living in a care home and if you also receive one of the benefits, you will be ineligible for the Winter Fuel Payment.

Relating back to the qualifying week (21st and 27th September 2020), if any of the following apply then you will be ineligible and therefore will not receive a Winter Fuel Payment:

  • You were living in a country outside of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
  • You were living in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain. This is due to higher average winter temperatures.
  • You spent the qualifying week and more than 52 weeks in hospital, and you were receiving free treatment.
  • You were living in a care home for the qualifying week as well as at least the previous 12 weeks and received one or more of the benefits listed above.
  • You required permission to enter the UK and didn’t qualify for any help from the Department for Work and Pensions during the qualifying week.
  • You were in prison during the qualifying week.
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