What are Winter Fuel Payments and how to apply?
Winter Fuel Payments are a form of cost of living support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for people who were born before September 25, 1957. The payments can help with energy bills during the cold season. Applications for Winter Fuel Payment open by post next month, with claims being invited from September 18 onwards. If you are applying by phone, the starting date for claims is October 4. You can find out how to make a claim here.
How much will you get and when will you be paid?
The amount you get depends on when you were born and your circumstances between 18 to 24 September 2023. This is called the ‘qualifying week’. Most payments will be made between November and December. Prior to this you will get a letter informing you of how much you will get and which bank account it will be paid into. If you do not get a letter or receive the payment by January 26, 2024, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. The payments range from £100 to £300 depending on your situation.
Who is eligible and who is not?
You will usually need to live in the UK, though some circumstances may mean you are eligible if you live abroad. You will not be eligible if you need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave says that you cannot claim public funds. And those living in care homes will be eligible unless both of the following apply:
- you get Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- you lived in a care home for the whole time from 26 June to 24 September 2023
Do you need to claim or will you get it automatically?
Most people get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if they’re eligible. If you receive any of the following benefits and were born before the qualifying date, you will not need to apply:
- State Pension
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
However, if you do not get any of these, you need to claim if either of the following apply:
- this is your first winter since turning 66
- you did not live in the UK during the qualifying week
Why are Winter Fuel Payments important?
Winter Fuel Payments are important because they can provide a much-needed boost for people as the time comes to crank up the heating. According to Age UK, more than 2.5 million older people in England say they worry about staying warm at home this winter. The charity also estimates that around 8,500 older people could die from cold-related illnesses this winter. Therefore, Winter Fuel Payments can help prevent such tragedies and improve the quality of life for many older people.
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