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30 Jan 2020
Steve Ramsey avatar Steve Ramsey

What is the Winter Fuel Allowance?

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Older lady warming her hands by the fire

The Winter Fuel Allowance, also known as the Winter Fuel Payment, is a benefit available to pensioners every year to help with their heating costs.

Many pensioners struggle to heat their homes effectively during the winter and some even have to make the difficult choice between heating and eating.

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What is the Winter Fuel Allowance?

The Winter Fuel Payment/Allowance is a one-off tax-free payment paid to any household where a resident gets the state pension. It’s designed to help older people keep warm during the winter months.

Who is eligible for the Winter Fuel Allowance?

It’s a universal benefit, which means that it isn’t means-tested and is paid to everyone who qualifies through their age. The amount of the payment you get depends on your personal circumstances.

How much is the Winter Fuel Allowance?

The amount of your Winter Fuel Allowance depends on your age and your living situation.

The higher rate of £300 will be paid to a person over the age of 80 who lives alone.

If you live with another person over the age of 80 then you will each get £150.

If you’re under the age of 80 then you’ll get £200 if you live alone, or £100 each if you live with another qualifying person aged under 80.

When is the Winter Fuel Allowance paid?

The Winter Fuel Allowance is normally paid automatically in November or December each year. If you haven’t received it by the middle of January, and you think you are entitled to it, you should make a claim for your Winter Fuel Payment.

Claiming the Winter Fuel Payment

You can download a form from GOV.UK or call the Payment Centre on 08459 15 15 15 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and ask them to send you one. To complete the form, you’ll need to know:

  • Your National Insurance number

  • Your bank or building society details

  • If you’re married or in a civil partnership, and the date it started

How is the Winter Fuel Allowance paid?

The payment is made in one lump sum into your bank or building society account. This means you can spend it on what you want – it doesn’t have to go to your gas or electricity provider. You could use it to buy some warm clothes, to put towards insulation to reduce the heat you lose, or even to get an electric blanket to keep you toasty at night.

Will the Winter Fuel Allowance affect my benefits?

No, it won’t affect any of your other benefits. Its also tax-free so you don’t need to worry about it increasing your tax bill if you normally pay tax on your income.

I haven’t claimed Winter Fuel Allowance before and I think I was eligible

Unfortunately, Winter Fuel Allowance claims cannot be backdated for previous years. If you think you are eligible then you should make a claim as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss out in the future

Other benefits to claim

If you’re struggling with energy costs especially in wintertime, there are a number of benefits available. These include:

  • The Warm Home Discount – a one-off discount of £140 to the energy bills for the most vulnerable households living in fuel poverty

  • Cold Weather Payment – a grant paid to certain customers when the temperature drops below freezing for more than a week

  • Energy efficiency grants – if you qualify, these will pay for insulation and other improvements to your home.

READ MORE: Make your home more energy efficient

Other ways to save on heating costs

The most effective way to save on heating costs is to keep the heat you already have inside your home. Make sure you have good insulation in the loft, and that you have draught-proofed your doors and windows. Even a simple draught excluder can make a big difference.

Chimney flues and letterboxes are other common culprits for draughts that can easily be fixed.

Your local DIY store will have a range of draught-proofing materials that are easy to fit.

Switch energy provider

You should also make sure you’re not overpaying for the energy you do use. If you’ve never switched you’ll be on your provider’s standard tariff which is often the most expensive.

Spend just 5 minutes checking to see if you could get a cheaper deal, and you could save hundreds of pounds over the next 12 months.

Even if you’ve switched in the past, it’s worth checking every 6 months or so to see if there’s a better deal out there.

You can switch as many times as you like, and we make it quick and easy to find out if you can reduce your bills.

Get an energy quote today and see how much you can save.

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