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Winter Fuel Payment

A Winter Fuel payment is a tax-free payment of £100-£300 which is made during winter to help an individual pay the heating bills. This is made available to households with someone above the Pension Credit age. An individual qualifies for his / her first Winter Fuel payment once they reach the Pension Credit age. Most payments are automatically made between November and December and an individual should receive the money by 31 December. In case the money isn’t paid into the account, a person can call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. An individual usually gets a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if he / she is eligible along with the State Pension or social security benefit. The amount an individual can receive each winter might vary according to their personal circumstances (individual’s age or other people living around, who are also eligible, can impact the amount). A Winter Fuel Payment is not considered as income while computing the entitlement to other benefits. The amount is non-taxable and is administered by Department for Work and Pensions. The qualifying week for winter 2016-2017 was 19-25 September 2016. Any amount an individual will receive is tax-free and won’t affect other benefits.


Winter Fuel allowance payment and benefits

For tax-year 2017/18, a person will be eligible for Winter Fuel Payment if he / she were born on or before 6 August 1953 for winter 2017-2018 (the date alters every year) and will be living in the UK all through the week of 18-24 September 2017. If a person lives in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, he /she may still be eligible if there is genuine link with the UK.

Situation
People born on or before 5 May 1953
People aged 80 or above in the qualifying week
If a person qualifies and stays alone (or none of the people staying along qualify)
£200.0
£300.0
If a person qualifies and get one of the benefits listed*
£200.0
£300.0
Staying with a person who is under 80 and also qualifies
£100.0
£200.0
Staying with someone 80 or above who also qualifies
£100.0
£150.0
Person qualifies and stay with a partner or civil partner; also eligible for the benefits listed*
Nil**
Nil**
Person qualifies but stays in a care home and doesn’t get one of the benefits listed*
£100
£150

Notes: *Benefits: Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Pension Credit, Income Support; **Partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on their behalf

A person will receive a letter stating that the amount he / she will get along with the estimated payment date. All benefits and allowances are paid into an account, such as a bank account.

Eligibility

An individual qualifies for Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • born on or before 6 August 1953 (for winter 2017/18 – the date changes every year)
  • lived in the UK all through the week of 18-24 September 2017
  • However, a person will not qualify if all through the week of payment a he / she might be:
  • in prison
  • in hospital getting free treatment in excess of 52 weeks
  • might need permission to enter the UK and due to certain requirement won’t qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • have lived in a care home for the preceding 12 weeks or more and received either Pension Credit or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • living in Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece, Gibraltar, France, Cyprus

Change of circumstance

It is imperative to report any change of circumstance as these can impact the amount an individual might get. For example, if an eligible person stops receiving a benefit, moves out, or goes into care. As most Winter Fuel Payments are made automatically, it is advisable to write to the office that pays Winter Fuel Payment in order to get it cancelled.

How to claim

Before raising a claim it is essential to check the eligibility for Winter Fuel Payment. A person will claim Winter Fuel Payment if he / she have not received it before and any of the following apply:

  • do not get benefits or a State Pension
  • receive benefits or a State Pension but lives in Switzerland or an EEA country
  • only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit

Claim for the first time by phone

A person, if claiming for the first time, can call the Winter Fuel Payment centre to claim by phone at:

Telephone number: 03459 151515
Telephone number from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone number: 0345 606 0285
Textphone number from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7280

These help lines can be contacted during the weekdays – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays)
In order to seek information from the centre, it is essential to keep the following information handy:

  • National Insurance (NI) number
  • Bank or building society details
  • Valid Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and International Bank Account Number (IBAN) if a person lives in the EEA or Switzerland
  • the date a person got married or entered into a civil partnership

Please note that payments cannot be made into a National Savings and Investments (NS&I) account unless a person already gets other benefits paid into the account.

Claim for the first time by post

A person can claim the Winter Fuel Payment by post by writing to:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LR

Also, person in another EEA country or Switzerland can write to:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1ZU
UK

If a person has claimed before

If an individual has claimed before, he / she should get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically from the organisation that pays the benefits

Appeal a decision

In case of any discrepancy, a person can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. However, a person must ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before appeal

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