With thousands of Britons likely to see their energy costs increase, many will be looking to the winter fuel allowance to help heat their home during the colder months.
The winter fuel allowance is a one-off, tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 made during the winter to help with heating costs.
It is available for any households that include someone over the state pension age. The allowance is not means-tested, so it does not take a claimant’s financial situation into account.
The exact amount you are entitled to will depend on your age and living circumstances during the qualifying week.
You can find out how to make a claim through the Government website.
Who is eligible for the winter fuel allowance?
Anyone who was born on or before October 5, 1955 is eligible for the fuel allowance.
However, you will also need to have lived in the UK for at least one day during the ‘qualifying week’ of 20 to 26 September 2021.
If you did not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you can still get the payment if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK. This can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK.
You are not eligible for 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 will not qualify
You will not quality for the winter fuel allowance if any of the following apply:
- You are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
- You need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds
- You were in prison for the whole week from 20 to 26 September 2021
- You lived in a care home for the whole time from 28 June to 26 September 2021, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
When is the winter fuel allowance paid?
Most payments for the winter fuel allowance are made automatically in November or December, but if you are eligible and have made a claim it should arrive by January 14, 2022, at the latest.
Are there other schemes to help with energy costs?
If you are not eligible for the winter fuel allowance, there are other schemes to help with energy costs.
The Cold Weather payment of £25 is available to anyone living in an area with an average temperature of 0C or below for seven days in a row. This applies for every seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
You will need to check whether your area is eligible using the Government’s postcode checker.