Winter fuel payments
As we get older, we begin to feel the cold more. Not heating our homes properly can result in cold-related illnesses like heart attacks or hypothermia. The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual government initiative that helps older people cope with their increasing heating costs.
How much will I receive with The Winter Fuel Payment?
What you get depends on your living circumstances, but you'll usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension. Currently, if you were born before 5 January 1953 (this date changes every year) and you're living in the UK, you'll receive:
- £200 if you’re between 63 and 80 years old
- £300 if you’re 80 or over
In order to qualify for the amounts shown above, you need to be living alone or in receipt of other benefits.
Take a look at Gov.uk for more information.
How can I claim this benefit?
If you receive the State Pension, you'll usually receive the Winter Fuel Payment automatically. If you don't, but you think you qualify, visit gov.uk to apply. It won't affect any of your other benefits and you only need to claim it once to receive it every year – as long as your circumstances don't change. The money is usually put into your chosen bank account in November or December.
You can’t claim Winter Fuel Payment for 2015 to 2016 after 31 March 2016.
Will I qualify?
For 2015-2016 you must have been born before 5 January 1953. You won't qualify if:
- You're in prison
- You're currently in hospital receiving treatment on the NHS for more than 52 weeks
- You need permission to enter the UK and don't qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions
- You are living in a care home and have done for the previous 12 weeks or more. And, you are in receipt of Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Lived in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain
What else do I need to know?
It's worth looking at your gas and electricity bills or statements, to see if your energy provider runs any schemes or offers discounts to older customers. The larger companies are obliged to offer you help if you're finding it hard to heat your home – and you should definitely contact them if you're finding it hard to keep up with your bills.
While you're at it, Choose.net have also outlined how to take advantage of some grants for insulation. If you're a pensioner or receive certain benefits, the big improvements to increase efficiency - such as good home insulation and good quality boilers - could even be available for free.