Get to grips with the Winter Fuel Payment (also known as the Winter Fuel Allowance). Find out what it is, how much you could get and if you're eligible to apply for one.
What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment (first introduced in 1997) is an annual tax-free state benefit and allowance available to help ease the burden of energy heating costs in the winter. The amount paid is greater if you are aged 80 years and above. It's also set so that a person living alone (or with people not receiving the payment) is paid twice as much as a person in a household where more than one person receives the payment. If the weather is particularly cold, you may also receive a Cold Weather Payment.
Who is eligible?
You are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before the 5th October 1954 and have lived in the UK for at least a day during the qualifying week, which this year was the 21st to 27th September 2020.
The Winter Fuel Allowance is also available to those living in a European Economic Area (EEA) country and have a provable link to the UK.
You will also be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if you receive a State Pension or another benefits payment that’s not Universal Credit, Council Tax Reduction, Child or Housing benefit.
What is the qualifying week?
The qualifying week is a set week, mostly in September, the UK government uses as a deadline to determine whether or not you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. If you’re the right age and meet the other criteria, you will be eligible for the payment.
How can you apply?
If you are eligible and already get the State Pension or another social security benefit then you should get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically.
Otherwise you may need to make a claim. Your first port of call should be gov.uk. Here you'll be able to find and download your form to get the ball rolling. After that, you'll be assessed on whether you're eligible and how much you'll receive.
How much is the Winter Fuel Allowance?
Depending on your circumstances, the Winter Fuel Payment you will receive will be between £100 and £300. A combination of your age, when you’ve lived in the UK, who you live with and the benefits you get, will determine the exact sum you’re entitled to.
If you’re successful, you should receive a letter informing you of how much you’ll get and an estimated payment date. The amount will be paid into the same bank account you claim your benefits with.
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