The winter fuel payment could help you pay for your heating, but you have to meet certain criteria to qualify.
The Winter Fuel Payment, which also sometimes called the
These payments aren't to be confused with cold weather payments, which you might receive for spells of particularly cold weather on a weekly basis.
Do I qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment?
You could qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment if you normally live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland and were born on or before 5 July 1951.
Whether you qualify also depends on a few qualifying factors. You won't qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment if, for the week of 17-23 September 2012:
- you were in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks previously;
- you are/were in custody serving a court sentence;
- you are/were subject to immigration control and did not qualify from help from the Department for Work and Pensions;
- you live/lived in a care home or independent hospital.
How much will I receive?
|Situation||Born on or before 5 July 1951||Aged 80 or over on or before 23 September 2012|
|You live alone||£200||£300|
|You are the only person in the household who qualifies||£200||£300|
|You live with someone else who qualifies and is under 80||£100||£200|
|You live with someone else who qualifies and is over 80||£100||£150|
|You get Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance.||£200||£300|
|You get Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance and you live with another qualifying person in the household who qualifies for Winter Fuel Payment. (If someone else in the household is eligible, but not on the above benefits, and not your partner/civil partner they'll get a shared payment.)||£200||£300|
|You qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and live with someone who gets Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance. (If they are your partner/civil partner, they will get the payment for you.)||£0||£0|
|You qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and live with someone who gets Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance. (If they are not your partner/civil partner you will get a shared payment.)||£100||£150|
|If both of the following apply:
|If both the following apply:
||You don't qualify||You don't qualify|
Can a couple both receive the Winter Fuel Payment?
If your partner gets a Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit, the Winter Fuel Payment will be paid to your household.
Otherwise, if you share your home with another qualifying person, you will each get a shared payment depending on your situation.
Do I need to claim my winter fuel allowance or will I be paid automatically?
You'll need to claim your Winter Fuel Payment if you aren't receiving at least one of the following benefits during the week of 17-23 September 2012:
- State Pension
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Bereavement Benefit
- Carer's Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Graduated Retirement Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Industrial Injuries Benefits
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pension
- Widow's Benefit
If you're getting Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit only you'll need to put in a claim.
You'll also need to claim if you have received the Winter Fuel Payment before but your circumstances have changed.
How do I apply?
To apply, you will need to download an application form from the Direct Gov website, or get a claim form sent to you by calling the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline on 0845 9 15 15 15. Return your completed application form to: Winter Fuel Payment Team Department for Work and Pensions PO Box 10142 Annesley Nottingham NG15 5WY. The Winter Fuel Payment won't affect your other benefits and you won't have to pay Income Tax on it.
What if my situation changes, like moving house?
You never need to claim more than once. Your payments will be given to you every year automatically. If you move house, move overseas, or have someone move in with you, give the Winter Fuel Payment helpline a ring on 08459 15 15 15.
How is the Winter Fuel Payment paid?
The Winter Fuel Payment is paid into your bank account or by cheque - it's up to you.
If you're receiving benefits you'll get your Winter Fuel Payment in the same way.
If you're part of a couple, and one or both of you are getting:
- Pension Credit
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
You must get your claims form to the Winter Fuel Payment team before 31 March 2013 to ensure you receive your payments.
Can I claim for past winters?
If you are eligible, you can claim Winter Fuel Payments retrospectively for 1997/98 and 1999/2000.
You'll need to download a claims form from DirectGov and return it to:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre Department for Work and Pensions PO Box 22 Gateshead NE92 1BX.
What other help can I get with my gas and electricity bills?
Alternatively, see what energy efficiency grants are available to see how you can get your home insulated for free, and learn more about saving energy in your home with our tips and tricks to cut your energy bills.