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Winter fuel payment

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The government’s winter fuel payment can help you with the cost of your energy bills

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 09 November 2020

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The winter fuel payment is a government scheme set up to help older people meet their energy bills every year. It’s worth between £100 and £300 per person every year.

Do I qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment?

You are probably eligible for the winter fuel payment in 2020/21 if you were born on or before 5 October 1954. 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 21 to 27, 2020.

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.

If you live outside of the UK you may also be able to qualify for the winter fuel payment, which is explained lower down in this article.

You won’t qualify for the 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 29 June and 27 September 2020 and received specific benefits that include Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

How old do I need to be to claim the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment has two tiers. To be eligible for the larger payment you need to be born on or before 27 September 1940.

To qualify for the lower amount you need to be born between 28 September 1940 and 5 October 1954. Anyone born later is not eligible for the benefit.

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 or call 0800 731 0160. You have until 31 March 2021 to claim for the 20/21 winter season.

You will need to know your national Insurance number and your bank or building society details.

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 13 January 2021, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.

It used to be possible to claim for previous years, but the rules have changed and this is no longer allowed.

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 Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Malta and Greece.

Can I get more help to pay my energy bills?

If you’re worried about energy costs or simply want to see how you might be able to cut your bills further, there are a few more options worth looking at:

  • If you live in a low income or vulnerable household you could benefit from the warm home discount scheme that gives a discount of up to £140 on electricity bills over the winter months.

  • 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.

  • The green homes grant is a government initiative where you could receive a voucher for up to £10,000 to spend on eco measures such as new insulation or a more environmentally friendly heating system. By using less energy to heat your home, it will also help cut down your costs. You need to act quickly though because all work must be completed by 31 March 2021.

There are lots money money saving tips to be found on our energy saving tips guide

Compare energy suppliers

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.

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