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Winter fuel payment cover

What is the Winter Fuel Payment and how do I get it?

Disclaimer: The information on this page was correct as of August 20, 2021.

If you were born before October 1954, you could be eligible to receive up to £300 to help pay your heating and energy bills thanks to the Winter Fuel Payment. Find out if you’re eligible for the payments and how to claim below. As always, we’ve got you covered!

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What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment is a Government-led scheme aimed to help pensioners with their energy bills over the winter to keep them safe and warm.

If you’re eligible, depending on certain criteria, you could receive a one-off payment of between £100 and £300 to cover your heating costs. This is normally paid in November/December but it can change every year.

Your Winter Fuel Payment is tax-free and won’t affect any other benefits you or anyone in your household currently receive.

Winter Fuel Payment eligibility criteria

To receive Winter Fuel Payments, you must meet certain criteria.

You’ll qualify if both of these statements are true:

  • You were born on or before 5th October 1954
  • You lived in the UK for at least one day between 21st and 27th September (this is called the ‘qualifying week’)

If you weren’t living in the UK during this week, you might still be able to receive Winter Fuel Payments if you meet both of the following:

  • You live in Switzerland or any other European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • You have a genuine link to the UK. For example, if you have family in the UK or have lived/worked there before

You won’t be able to get the Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • You live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal, or Spain
  • You are in hospital getting free treatment for over a year
  • You need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds
  • You were in prison for the whole qualifying week
  • You lived in a care home the whole time between 29th June and 27th September and received Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance during this time

If you don’t qualify, you might be able to claim the Cold Weather Payment or the Warm Home Discount instead.

How to claim the Winter Fuel Payment

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you usually don’t have to do anything to receive your payment – it will be sent straight to your bank account.

However, you might have to make a claim if:

  • You haven’t received the payment before and do not get benefits or state pension
  • You haven’t received the payment before and only receive Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit, or Universal Credit
  • You haven’t received the payment before and get benefits or State Pension and live in Switzerland or an EEA country You have received the payment before but have deferred your State Pension
  • You have received the payment before but have moved to Switzerland or an EEA country

If you need to claim, you can do so by calling 0800 731 0160 from the UK or +44 (0)191 218 7777.

How much you’ll get

How much you’ll get depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week.

See the table below to see how much you could get if you qualify:

Criteria Born between 1940 and 1954 Born before 1940
You qualify and no one else in your household qualifies £200 £300
You and someone under 80 in your household also qualifies £100 £200
You and someone over 80 in your household also qualifies £100 £150
You live in a care home £100 £150
You receive benefits and no one else in your household qualifies £200 £300
You qualify and live with someone who receives benefits £200 £300

What to do if you haven’t received your payment

Most payments will be paid automatically into your account in November/December. You should receive a letter telling you how much you’re getting and an estimated payment date.

If you haven’t been paid by 31st March, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment team on 0800 731 0160 from the UK or +44 (0)191 218 7777.

Will the Winter Fuel Payment affect my Warm Home Discount?

Get £140 from the Warm Home Discount

Let us guide you through the Warm Home Discount and find you the right tariff that can also give you an additional £140 from the Warm Home Discount.

Your Warm Home Discount won’t be affected by your Winter Fuel Payment. If you qualify for both, you should definitely take advantage of this as you could receive up to £440 to cover your winter energy bills.

If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of your Pension Credit, you’ll get this automatically, as long as your energy provider supports the scheme. Some of the Winter Fuel Payment eligibility criteria is very similar to that of the Warm Home Discount so it’s likely you will qualify for both schemes. However, you might qualify for one but not the other.

Find out more about the Warm Home Discount

Will the Winter Fuel Payment affect my Cold Weather Payment?

Your Winter Fuel Payment won’t affect any Cold Weather Payments you receive. However, depending on the weather over the winter, you might not receive any Cold Weather Payments, even if you’re eligible.

Both are paid automatically into your account and the criteria for both is very similar. It’s likely that you qualify for both, however, you might qualify for one but not the other.

Find out more about the Cold Weather Payment

If you need some more help...

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This page was written by...

Polly Tyler

I've loved writing since I was a child and have worked on a number of different projects since I left school, including journalism, copywriting, and marketing. Utilty Switchboard has given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience and I've loved every minute!

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