Winter Fuel Payment: how to qualify, apply and contact
Winter is upon us and along with all the extra costs around Christmas, it can be a real struggle to make ends meet at this time of year. The Winter Fuel Payment is a government scheme that gives support to elderly people who may struggle to pay their energy bills in the winter.
What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment was introduced in 1997. It’s an annual tax-free heating allowance of between £100 and £300 made to those over Pension Credit Age who may require assistance with their heating costs during the winter.
As this winter fuel allowance is not means-tested, you can still qualify it if you’re working or claiming benefits. Our straightforward guide is here to help you discover if you qualify, how much you could receive and how to apply.
Do I qualify for heating allowance?
In addition to being over pension credit age, you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:
- You were living in the UK during the period 16 to 22 September 2019.
- You were born on or before 5 April 1954
- You have a legitimate link with the United Kingdom.
- If you live in Switzerland or a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) there is a possibility that you will be able to claim for Winter Fuel Payment, depending on the country (see below).
You are not eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:
- You lived in a care home for 12 weeks or more prior to September and received Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
- You are in hospital receiving free treatment for over a year.
- You were in prison for the period 16 to 22 September 2019.
- You needed permission to come into the United Kingdom and can not claim public funds.
- You live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain, where the average winter temperature is higher than that of the warmest region in the UK.
At present there is no Winter Fuel Payment for disabled or chronically ill people, as the program currently only extends to those over Pension Credit age.
How much is the winter fuel allowance?
Depending on your circumstances during the period 16 to 22 September, you could receive £100-£300 in winter fuel allowance to help pay your heating costs. This payment is tax-free and does not affect other benefits you may receive. Take a look at the table below to see how much you could claim through the Winter Fuel Payment.
|Circumstances||Born between 23 September 1939 and 5 April 1954||Born on or before 22 September 1939|
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£100||£200|
|You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies||£100||£150|
|You qualify, live in a care home and do not receive one of the benefits listed below||£100||£150|
|You qualify, receive one of the benefits listed below and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and live with someone who also receives one of the benefits listed below||£200 - only one of you will get the payment||£300 - only one of you will get the payment|
|You qualify, live in a care home and receive one of the benefits listed below||Nil||Nil|
*If you or someone in your household receives one of the following benefits your Winter Fuel Payment eligibility can be affected: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit.
How is the Winter Fuel Payment made?
Unlike the discount benefit of the Warm Home Discount, the Winter Fuel Payment is paid directly into the bank account or building society of the recipient.
Unsure about your gas and electricity use?
Check out our energy consumption calculator to get a rough idea.
Estimate your annual energy use
When is the winter fuel payment made?
Payments are usually made automatically between November and December. You will receive a letter detailing how much you will receive and the estimated date of payment. If you are due any other benefit, you’ll receive your Winter Fuel Payment at the same time.
How do I apply for the Winter Fuel Payment?
If you are eligible and have already received the Winter Fuel Payment in the past, you should receive it automatically. However, you will need to claim it under the following circumstances.
You have not claimed before and:
- You do not receive benefits or a State Pension.
- You only receive Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit.
- You receive benefits or a State pension but reside in an EEA country or Switzerland.
- You have deferred your State Pension.
You can apply for the Winter Fuel Payment by phone or by post. There is also an online contact form for any questions or queries you may have.
Apply for the Winter Fuel Payment by phone
Winter Fuel Payment Helpline
From the UK: 0800 731 0160
From overseas: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: 0800 731 0464
Textphone from overseas: +44 (0)191 218 7280
NGT text relay: 18001 then 0800 731 0160
*Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm
Make sure you have the following details with you when you call:
- Your bank or building society account details
- Your National Insurance number
- Your BIC and IBAN (if you are living within the European Economic Area or Switzerland)
- The date that you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if applicable)
Apply for the Winter Fuel Payment by post
If you live in the UK
Fill out the Winter Payment Claim Form and send it to:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
If you live in Switzerland or another EEA country
Fill out the EEA Winter Payment Claim Form and send it to:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
What other help can I get with energy costs?
The Winter Fuel Payment is one of a number of government-assisted schemes that may help you when money’s tight. Read on to see what other help you may be eligible for.
Cold Weather Payment
The Cold Weather Payment is a £25 grant paid out to those receiving certain state benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support, each time temperatures fall below freezing for a period of seven consecutive days or more.
Pension Credit is a weekly pension top-up for retirees who may require additional income to help pay expenses such as energy bills. Those who qualify are usually also eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
ECO is a government initiative that ensures larger energy suppliers contribute to the costs of heating improvements for customers who could not otherwise afford it. By installing energy efficiency measures, such as double glazing, insulation, or a new boiler, ECO aims to reduce both carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
Local Government Schemes
You may be entitled to grants or loans from your local council or Jobcentre Plus to help cover energy costs. Contact your local authority for more information on what assistance may be available to you.
Energy Company Schemes
Some energy providers also run their own schemes aimed at those who are most at risk of fuel poverty. Contact your energy supplier for more information.