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You are here > Home > Help with Health Costs and Money Issues > Winter Fuel Payment

Winter Fuel Payment for 2015 to 2016 (Help with Heating Costs)

A Guide to the 2015 to 2016 Winter Fuel Payment, a lump sum for heating
costs for the elderly and pensioners to help them keep warm in winter.

see also: Cold Weather Payment

Introduction

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 January 1953.

This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you qualify but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim.

This payment is particularly helpful for low income disabled people. or older people and pensioners.
The government pay it and it is tax free for those who fit the eligibility criteria given below.

How much is paid:

How much you get depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week. The qualifying week for winter 2015 to 2016 is 21 to 27 September 2015.

Any money you get is tax-free and won’t affect your other benefits.

Your Circumstances Born on or before 5 January 1953 Aged 80 or over in the qualifying week
You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) £200 £300
You qualify and get one of the benefits listed* £200 £300
You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies £100 £200
You live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies £100 £150
You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner and they get one of the benefits listed* Nil** Nil**
You qualify but live in a care home and don’t get one of the benefits listed* £100 £150

* Benefits:
Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

** Your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, eg a bank account.

Are you eligible?:

You’ll qualify for Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • you were born on or before 5 January 1953 (for winter 2015 to 2016 - this date changes every year)
  • you’ll be living in the UK throughout the week of 21 to 27 September 2015

You may be able to get the payment if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and you have a genuine link with the UK.

You can’t get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

When you won’t qualify

You won’t qualify if throughout the week of 21 to 27 September 2015 you:

  • are in prison
  • are in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks
  • need permission to enter the UK and don’t qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions
  • have lived in a care home for the previous 12 weeks or more and get Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • lived in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain

Change of circumstance

Report any change of circumstance as these can affect how much you get. For example, if the qualifying person stops getting a benefit, moves out, dies or goes into care.

Contact the office paying your benefits - their details are on any letters they sent you.

Most Winter Fuel Payments are paid automatically. Write to the office that pays your Winter Fuel Payment if you want to cancel it.

How to claim a Winter Fuel Payment:

You can’t claim Winter Fuel Payment for 2015 to 2016 after 31 March 2016.

You need to claim Winter Fuel Payment if you’ve not had it before and either of the following apply:

  • you don’t get benefits or a State Pension
  • you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit

You can still claim Winter Fuel Payment if you receive a State Pension and you live in Switzerland or an EEA country (except for Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain).

If you’ve claimed before

You should get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically from the organisation that pays your benefits. Contact them if you have any questions or there’s a change in your circumstances. You can find their details on any letters they’ve sent you.

Claiming for the first time by phone

Call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to claim by phone.

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Email enquiry form
Telephone: 03459 15 15 15
Telephone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: 0345 606 0285
Textphone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7280
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

You’ll need to know:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank or building society details
  • your BIC and IBAN numbers if you live in the EEA or Switzerland
  • the date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate)

Payments can’t be made into a National Savings and Investments (NS&I) account unless you already get other benefits paid into the account.

You’ll also need to say whether during the qualifying week of 21 to 27 September 2015 you’ll be:

  • in hospital getting free in-patient treatment
  • in a residential care home or Ilford Park Resettlement Home
  • in custody serving a court sentence

Claim for the first time by post

The claim form you need depends on where you live.

If your claim is for 2015 to 2016 it must arrive by 31 March 2016.

Where to send your claim form

Send your claim to the following address if you’re in the UK.

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

Send your claim to the following address if you’re in another EEA country or Switzerland.

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

Send your claim to the following address if you’re in another EEA country or Switzerland.

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

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision.

You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’

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