What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment is a government scheme set up to help older people meet their energy bills every year. It’s available if you’re born on or before 5 August 1953, and is worth between £100 and £300 per person every year.
Do I qualify for Winter Fuel Payment?
You are probably eligible for winter fuel payment in 2017/18 if you were born on or before 5 August 1953. To qualify for Winter Fuel Payment you must also have lived in the UK for at least one day during the qualifying week, which was September 18 to 24, 2017.
The date for eligibility, and the qualifying week, changes every year, so even if you can’t claim the payment this year, it may change in the future.
You won’t qualify for Winter Fuel Payment if you:
- were in prison for the whole qualifying week
- are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
- need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you can’t claim public funds
- lived in a care home for the whole time between 26 June and 18 September 2017 and received specific benefits that include Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
How much is the Winter Fuel Payment?
How much you get depends on your age and circumstances during the qualifying week. Payments are tax-free, and won’t impact on any other benefits you might be claiming.
If you live on your own, or if everyone you live with is ineligible for a winter fuel payment, you’ll receive £300 if you are over 80 or £200 if you are younger.
If you live with another person who also qualifies, payments are usually split. For example, you’ll get £100 each if you’re under 80.
If you live in a care home and don’t get certain benefits, you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment of £100 or £150 depending on your age.
How do I apply for the Winter Fuel Payment?
If you live at home and receive certain benefits, you don’t have to make a claim. These include the State Pension, Pension Credit, Income Support and Incapacity benefit. If you’ve received the Winter Fuel Payment in previous years, you should automatically receive it if you are eligible to.
If you qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and don’t receive any of these benefits, you’ll need to make a claim. Go to Gov.uk or call 08459 15 15 15. You have until March 31 2018 to claim for the 17/18 winter season.
When will I get the Winter Fuel Payment?
Winter Fuel Payments are typically made in November or December. You should receive payment by December 25 if you’ve claimed the allowance before.
New claimants are advised to apply as soon as possible, to avoid delays in payment. Once you’ve applied you’ll receive a letter with a payment date and details of how much you’ll be paid. If you haven’t received the money by January 15 2018, you should contact the office that pays your benefits – you’ll see the contact details in your letter.
Can I claim for previous years?
No. This used to be possible, but rules have changed so you cannot claim Winter Fuel Payment for previous winters.
What if I live abroad?
You can claim the winter fuel payment if you receive a state pension and live in Switzerland or most European Economic Area (EEA) countries.
The exceptions are for expats who live in countries where the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest part of the UK. This means you won’t receive the winter fuel payment if you live in in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Malta and Greece.
Can I get more help to pay my energy bills?
Older people claiming certain benefits, regardless of age, can also get cash through the Cold Weather Payments. A payment of £25 is made each time there’s a week of very cold weather – zero degrees Celsius or below - between November and March.
This is paid automatically if you qualify. For more information see our Cold Weather Payments guide.
You should also compare your energy tariff to others available to ensure you’re on the best deal. You could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching suppliers – it’s easy to compare tariffs using MoneySuperMarket’s energy comparison.
Finally, if you’re struggling to pay bills speak to your energy provider to see what help it can offer.