Check if you’re due a Winter Fuel Payment as severe weather hits UK
With a severe weather warning of ice and fog issued for most of Scotland and parts of England and Wales, households may be forced to turn up the heating.
But if you were born on or before 5 January 1953, you could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay for energy bills.
Below is what you need to know. Also see our Cold Weather Payment news story, as you may also be due £25 if the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days.
Can I get Winter Fuel Payments?
You’ll qualify for the 2015/16 Winter Fuel Payment if:
- You were born on or before 5 January 1953.
- You lived in the UK throughout the week of 21 to 27 September 2015.
You may also be able to get the payment if you have a genuine link with the UK and live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area country. However, this excludes Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain where the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.
In addition, during what’s called the ‘qualifying week’ of 21 to 27 September 2015 you can’t have:
- Been in prison.
- Been in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks.
- Needed permission to enter the UK and didn’t qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions.
- Lived in a care home for the previous 12 weeks or more and got pension credit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance.
So how do I apply?
You usually get Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the state pension or another social security benefit excluding housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit) or you’ve received it in the past.
Most payments are made automatically – usually straight into your bank account - between November and December, and you should have got your money by Christmas.
If you think you qualify but haven’t been paid automatically, because for example you don’t get benefits or the state pension, you’ll need to make a claim before 31 March 2016.
You can apply by post or by phone – see Gov.uk for the contact details.
How much can I get?
You’ll get between £100 and £300 depending on your age and circumstances during the qualifying week of 21 to 27 September 2015.
For example, if you’re eligible and are aged under-80, and you live with someone under 80 who also qualifies, you’ll get £100.
If you live alone and are aged 80 or over, you’ll get £300.
Payments are tax-free and won’t affect any other benefits you receive.
Remember to report any change of circumstance to the office paying your benefits - its details are on any letters it sends you - as these can affect how much you get.