guide

Everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment

01 September 2021 | Aimee Tweedale

Each year, the UK government gives pensioners a Winter Fuel Payment to help during the coldest months. Also known as the winter fuel allowance, it’s a tax-free payment to help with heating costs. The money gets paid directly into your bank account.

If you think you might be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, read on to find out more about how much you can get, and how to claim it.

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

This payment is a yearly lump sum of money for UK pensioners, to help during the cold weather. It’s similar to the Warm Home Discount, except instead of going straight to your energy supplier, it goes into your bank account.

You can usually get between £100 and £300, and you should get it automatically if you receive a state pension, or Pension Credit.

Am I eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment?

Whether or not you can claim a Winter Fuel Payment will depend on your age. Everyone over the state pension age gets Winter Fuel Payments.

To be eligible for the 2021-2022 payment, you must have been born on or before 26 September 1955. You also should have lived in the UK for at least one day during what’s called the “qualifying week”. 

The qualifying week changes every year. For 2021-2022 payments, it was 20-26 September 2021.

Winter Fuel Payment eligibility also extends to people who both:

  • Live in Switzerland or an EEA (European Economic Area) country 
  • And have a strong link to the UK – for example, you might still be able to claim if you’ve lived in the UK for most of your life, or your family live here

If you’re not sure when you’ll reach state pension age, you can look it up here. Check if you’re eligible for other benefits with an independent benefits calculator.

How much is the Winter Fuel Payment? 

In general, you can expect to receive between £100 and £300.

How much your winter fuel allowance will depend on your age. You’ll get more if you’re over 80.

It also depends on who you live with. You’ll get a higher payment if you live alone and a lower payment if you live with other people who also qualify. 

If you qualify and you’re under 80, you’ll get:

  • £200 if you live alone
  • £100 if you live with someone else who also qualifies
  • £100 if you live in a care home (and you don’t get certain benefits)

If you qualify and you’re 80 or over, you’ll get:

  • £300 if you live alone
  • £200 if you live with someone under 80 who also qualifies
  • £150 if you live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies
  • £150 if you live in a care home (and you don’t get certain benefits)1

If you live with someone who gets Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), or the income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), your allowance might be different. 

If you qualify, you’re under 80 and get one of the benefits above and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) you’ll get:

  • £200 if you live alone
  • £200 if you live with someone who also gets one of the benefits – only one of you will get the allowance

If you live in a care home and you get one of the benefits, you won’t be eligible. 

If you qualify, you’re over 80 and get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) you’ll get:

  • £300 if you live alone
  • £300 if you live with someone who also gets one of the benefits – only one of you will get the allowance

If you live in a care home and you get one of the benefits, you won’t be eligible.

Who doesn’t qualify for the winter fuel payment?

You won’t be able to claim Winter Fuel Payment if you’re too young to claim a state pension.

Even if you’re a pensioner, you won’t be eligible if, during the qualifying week, you:

  • Lived in Cyprus, Gibraltar, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, or Spain
  • Were in prison for the whole of the week
  • Were in hospital and had been receiving free treatment for a year or more
  • Needed permission to enter the UK
  • Lived in a care home and received Pension Credit or certain other benefits 

How will I get my Winter Fuel Payment?

You should receive it the same way you normally receive your pension and other benefits. Usually, your Winter Fuel Payment will automatically be sent to your bank account, or a cheque will be posted to you. 

If you don’t normally receive a state pension or benefits but you think you’re eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, you’ll need to make a claim. More on how to do that below. 

When is the Winter Fuel Payment made?

Usually, the money will be sent to you in November or December. The government will send you a letter ahead of time, so you’ll know roughly when your Winter Fuel Payment date will be. 

If you don’t receive it, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, or read on to see if you need to make a claim.

Will I get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically or do I need to claim it?

You’ll get your winter payment automatically if you’re old enough to qualify and you’re getting the state pension or another social security benefit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit, or Universal Credit).

If you think you qualify but you haven’t received your payment automatically, you’ll need to make a claim to the Department of Work and Pensions. This might be the case if you’re over state pension age but you don’t receive a state pension. Or if you’ve received a Winter Fuel Payment in the past but now your circumstances have changed.

Read on to find out how to make a claim.

How do I make a claim for Winter Fuel Payment?

winter fuel payment

If you’re not getting the fuel payment and you think you should be, you can make a claim via the phone or by post.

If you’d like to claim by post, you can download a form from the gov.uk website. To fill it in, you’ll need to have to hand:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your bank or building society details
  • Your BIC (and IBAN number if you don’t live in the UK)
  • The date you got married or began a civil partnership

Once you’ve filled in your form, post it to: 

Winter Fuel Payment Centre,

Mail Handling Site A,

Wolverhampton

WV98 1LR

You can also claim by calling the Winter Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Is there any other support for heating costs?

There are some other schemes designed to help those struggling to pay their energy bills.

Cold Weather Payment

You might be able to get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re eligible for Universal Credit or other benefits.

Here’s how it works: between 1 November and 31 March, if the temperature in your local area drops to 0°C or below for seven days in a row, you can get a one-off payment of £25. 

This should automatically be added to your other benefits.

You can keep an eye on whether you might be eligible for any on the gov.uk website.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a one-off payment of £140 (including VAT) towards your energy bills. This is paid as credit into your energy account.

Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria, which are approved by Ofgem. Here at OVO, we offer the discount to two groups of members:

  • The Core Group: These are our members who, as of 4 July 2021, also receive the Guarantee Credit element of pension credit. If that’s you, you’ll receive this discount automatically. Look out for a letter from the DWP, which should arrive by 31 December.
  • The Broader Group: The Broader Group is made up of members who receive benefits like Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. We offer discounts to members in this group on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more about how to apply here.

Read more about the eligibility criteria in our guide to the Warm Home Discount.

We’re here to help, too

We might be able to give you a one-off payment to help you manage your bills if you’re in debt and you earn under £16,190.

Go here to check if you’re eligible for the OVO Energy Fund. 

If you’re struggling this winter, Step Change is a registered charity that offers free, professional advice on how to handle debt. You could try their online Debt Remedy Tool, or call them on 0800 138 1111 (Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 8am-4pm).

How to save more energy

Making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible can help save energy and money.

For more ways to be energy efficient around the home, take a look at our energy efficiency blog

Switching your energy supplier could save you money too

No matter which energy company you’re currently with, it’s always worth checking the market regularly to see if you could save money by switching

See how your current supplier matches up next to our range of energy plans – you can compare energy prices for our electricity, gas and dual fuel plan. They’re based on a medium user, paying by Direct Debit, averaged across all UK regions. It’s a quick and easy way to compare utility prices.

Check our range of energy plans and see if you could save. 

Quickly find out if you could save on your energy bills with OVO Energy by getting a quote here.

Your questions about the Winter Fuel Payment answered

Yes, if you live in Switzerland or another European Economic Area (EEA) country and you have a genuine link with the UK – for example, if your family lives here. 

You can follow the same instructions on how to claim above. Just remember to add “UK” to the address when putting your claim form in the post.

Unfortunately not, you’ll only be able to claim for future payments.

If you make a claim for the Winter Fuel Payment but it’s not accepted, you may have the right to appeal the decision.

  1. First, you can ask for a written statement of reasons that explains why you don’t qualify. This should be in your decision letter, but if it isn’t, get in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions to ask for further information. The contact details should be on your letter.
  2. If you don’t agree with the reasoning at this stage, you can ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. This means the Dept of Work and Pensions need to show evidence to support their decision. You have to request this within a month of getting your original decision.
  3. If  you’d like to take it further, you can submit a formal appeal to the tribunal. 

For more information, see the Turn2Us guide to challenging decisions about benefits.

Sources and references:

1 https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/what-youll-get

2 https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/hub/quick-tips-to-save-energy/

Our website offers information about energy efficiency solutions, but not personal advice. It is intended to provide information and guidance only. You assume responsibility for any decisions made or actions taken based on the information provided.

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