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Winter Fuel Payment: How the heating allowance scheme works

Winter Fuel Payment: How the heating allowance scheme works

The Winter Fuel Payment is up to £300 of tax-free assistance for those who need help paying their energy bills, and is paid out between November and December. Qualification and how much you get depends on your age and circumstances.

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What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment, which is also referred to as the winter fuel allowance or heating allowance , is an annual tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 which helps people born on or before 5 October 1954 to pay for their heating in the winter.

These payments shouldn't be confused with Cold Weather Payments — which you could receive for spells of particularly cold weather on a weekly basis — or with the Warm Home Discount, which is a rebate applied to electricity bills.

Do I qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment?

You could qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment for the upcoming 2020-2021 season if you:

  • Were born on or before or on 5 October 1954
  • You'll be living in the UK for at least one day during the week of 21 to 27 September 2020

Whether you qualify also depends on a few other factors. You won't qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment if, for the week of 21-27 of September 2020:

  • you were in prison
  • you were in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks;
  • need permission to enter the UK under the stipluation that you cannot claim public funds

You also won't be eligible if you live in a care home for the whole time between 29 June and 27 September 2020 and also received Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Our interactive tool below can help you find out if you could be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment and other government schemes to help with your energy bills:

How much winter fuel allowance will I receive?

Situation Born between 21 September 1940 and 5 October 1954 Born on or before 20 September 1940
You live alone £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 live in a care home and do not get certain benefits £100 £150

For more information on the types of households that qualify for Winter Fuel Payment, visit Gov.uk's dedicated page.

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 didn't receive at least one of the following benefits during the week of 21-27 September 2020:

  • 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 to get winter fuel allowance.

You'll also need to claim if you have received the Winter Fuel Payment before but your circumstances have changed.

winter fuel and heating allowance

How do I apply for winter fuel allowance?

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 Centre on 0800 731 0160.

Return your completed application form to:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre

Mail Handling Site A


WV98 1LR

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 winter fuel allowance 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 Centre a ring on 0800 731 0160.

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'll get one joint payment.

Payments for the winter 2020-21 season should be made automatically between November and December 2020.

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.

Can I claim winter fuel allowance for past winters?

If you are eligible, you can claim Winter Fuel Payments retrospectively for 1997/98 and 1999/2000. You can't make claims for past winters from 2000/2001 and onwards.

Is any other help available for my gas and electricity bills?

If you don't qualify for benefits like winter fuel payment, cold weather payment or warm home discount, you can at least ensure you are on the cheapest energy deal.

It takes minutes to run a quick comparison of your current plan. All you need is your energy bill. You can compare online with Uswitch.

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