Winter Fuel Payments made simple
18th Dec 2012
Over the past few days, we’ve been asking what you know about the Winter Fuel Payment on Twitter and Facebook – and you've responded with a lot of questions!
So, we've created a Winter Fuel Payment top 10 Q&A - to answer your queries! If you want more information, just check out our online guide to getting help with your heating costs.
Still have questions? Just leave a comment below...
- I’ve never heard of the Winter Fuel Payment, what is it?
Put simply, it’s a Government scheme to help older people pay their energy bills in winter. The payment is tax-free and is made annually to households through a lump sum. Most people born before 6 July 1951 will qualify for the payment this winter.
- How much money is available?
It ranges – the minimum payment is £100, the maximum is £300.
What you receive depends on how old you are and whether you live with anyone else.
- Is it just for older people?
Yes. You must have been born before 6 July 1951 to qualify for the minimum payment this winter – and you get more money if you are 80 or over.
- I don’t qualify for benefits – can I still claim winter fuel payment?
Yes. The winter fuel payment is not means-tested – so it doesn’t matter whether you are working, claiming other benefits, or if you have lots of savings.
- I’m under the qualifying age, but I suffer from a medical condition. Can I claim the payment?
No. Winter Fuel Payments are age specific.
However, you may qualify for other benefits like Cold Weather Payments (see question 10) or Disability Living Allowance.
Check the Age UK benefits calculator, to see what you could be entitled to – or call the Age UK advice line on: 0800 169 65 65
- I’m over the qualifying age – is there any reason I might not qualify?
Generally, most people born before 6 July 1951 qualify for Winter Fuel Payments.
However, there are a few exceptions and you won’t get a Winter Fuel Payment this winter if, during the week beginning 17 September 2012:
• You were a care home resident receiving Pension Credit, income-based JSA, or income-related ESA, or
• You were a prisoner, or
• You had been in hospital for more than 52 weeks, or
• You were subject to immigration control.
- If you live with other people, will your claim be affected?
Yes. This is where it gets a little tricky.
** Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
||Born on or before 5 July 1951
||Aged 80 or over (born before 24 September 1932)
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)
|You qualify and get one of the benefits listed**
|You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies
|You live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies
|You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner and they get one of the benefits listed**
|You qualify but live in a care home and don’t get one of the benefits listed**
*** Your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf
- Do you only receive Winter Fuel Payment when it’s really cold?
No. Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off payment for the whole winter. It’s different from, but often confused with, Cold Weather Payments – which are weekly payments made during ‘cold snaps’ or periods of prolonged cold weather (see question 10).
- Can I claim for past winters?
It is not usually possible to claim for previous years, but if you were entitled to and did not receive, Winter Fuel Payments for the years 1997/8, 1998/9 and 1999/2000, there are some circumstances when you may still be able to make a claim.
- What other help is available?
Cold Weather Payments:
These are only paid during periods of especially cold weather to people on certain means-tested benefits. Specifically, you can get £25 a week every time the average temperature in your area is 0°C or colder for seven days in a row.
Cold Weather Payments have no age restriction – and so you may be able to get them if you are too young to get a Winter Fuel Payment. If you do qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment, you will get Cold Weather Payments as well when the weather is cold enough, as long as you are receiving one of the relevant means-tested benefits.
For more information, check out our page on Heating Benefits.