The Winter Fuel Payment, also known as the Winter Fuel Allowance, is a benefit that is paid to everyone that's claiming the state pension.
The idea is that it helps older people pay for the cost of heating their homes during the colder months of the year.
Here's what you need to know about how it works and how much you could get.
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What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment - or Winter Fuel Allowance - is a yearly tax-free payment paid to any household where somebody is claiming the state pension.
At the moment, that means they need to have been born before 26 September 1956.
The Winter Fuel Payment isn't a one-off piece of support during the ongoing cost of living crisis - it's been paid each year since 1997.
The Winter Fuel Payment is designed to help older people keep warm during the winter months.
How much is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The heating allowance you qualify for depends on your age and living situation.
For 2022/23 the payments are between £250 and £600. This is higher than previous years, because this year they also include one-off 'Pensioner Cost of Living Payments' of between £150 and £300.
If you live alone, or with someone who hasn't reached State Pension Age (SPA) yet, you get £500, rising to £600 if you were born before 26 September 1942.
If you live with someone else who's also eligible you get between £250 and £350 depending on your respective ages. You might get a higher payment £500 (or £600 if one or both of you were born before 26 September 1942), if you also claim certain benefits.
Am I eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment is a universal benefit paid to everyone who has reached state pension age. It isn't means-tested, so it doesn't matter what your income is or how much you have in savings.
The amount you get varies according to your age and circumstances.
When do I get my Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Allowance is normally paid automatically in November or December each year. If you haven’t had it by the middle of January, and you think you're entitled to it, you should make a claim for your Winter Fuel Payment.
How do I claim the Winter Fuel Payment?
If you think you're eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment but haven't had it you can make a claim.
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 need to know:
- Your National Insurance number
- Your bank or building society details
- If you’re married or in a civil partnership, the date it started
How is the Winter Fuel Payment paid?
The Winter Fuel Payment is paid as a lump sum direct 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
- Put towards insulation to reduce the heat you lose
- Get an electric blanket to keep you toasty at night
Will the Winter Fuel Allowance affect my benefits?
No, it doesn't affect any of your other benefits. It's 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 Payment before and I think I was eligible
Winter Fuel Payment claims can't be backdated for previous years. If you think you're eligible then you should make a claim as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss out this winter.
What other benefits could I claim this winter?
If you’re struggling with energy costs in wintertime, there are several benefits available. These include:
The Warm Home Discount – a one-off discount of £140 on 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 pay for insulation and other improvements to your home.
The one-off pensioner cost of living payments being made this year should be included in this year's increased Winter Fuel Payment.