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Winter Fuel Payment 2016/2017


OK, this is a bit complicated so you might want to get yourself a cup of tea before sitting down to read this.

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment, also known as the Winter Fuel Allowance or just Heating Allowance, is an annual tax free payment of between £100 and £300 for those born on or before 5 May 1953, to help with paying for heating bills.

These payments are separate from, and do not affect, either your Cold Weather Payment, which you could receive when temperatures fall below zero for 7 consecutive days, or the Warm Home Discount, which is a discount applied to electricity bills for qualifying customers.

How much is the Winter Fuel Allowance?

First the easy bit. Any money you get as part of the Winter Fuel Allowance is tax-free and will not affect your other benefits. So what you get, you keep.

Now it gets trickier....a lot trickier.

How much you get depends upon your age and circumstances during the qualifying week. The qualifying week for winter 2016 to 2017 was 19 to 25 September 2016.

Your CircumstanceBorn on or before
5 May 1953
Aged 80 or over
in the qualifying week
You getYou get
You qualify and live alone (or live with others who do not qualify)£200£300
You qualify and get one of the benefits listed below*£200£300
You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies£100£200
You live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies£100£150
You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner
and they get one of the benefits listed below*.
In this case your partner getting the benefit will get the
Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf.
NilNil
You qualify but live in a care home and don't get one of the
benefits listed below*
£100£150

Source: Gov.uk


* Benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support

And who says the UK benefits system is complicated?

Who qualifies for the Winter Fuel Allowance?

The table above kind of gave it away but unfortunately it gets even more complicated. The 2 main qualifiers are that;

- You were born on or before 5 May 1953 (for winter 2016 / 2017 - this date changes every year)

- You lived in the UK throughout the week of 19 to 25 September 2016

You may also be able to get the Winter Fuel Allowance if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and you have a genuine link with the UK. This does not apply to all EEA countries however. You won't get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain because the average winter temperature in those countries is higher than in the warmest region of the UK.

Whether you qualify also depends on certain other qualifying factors. You won't qualify if, throughout the week of 19 to 25 September 2016:

- You were in prison (so presumably weren't paying for your heating)

- You were in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks

- You needed permission to enter the UK and didn't qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions

- You lived in a care home for the previous 12 weeks or more and got Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

- You lived in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain (because the weather in those countries is of course nice and warm).

How do you get Winter Fuel Payments?

If you qualify, then most Winter Fuel Payments are made automatically between November and December each year, and you will receive a letter telling you how much you will get and an estimated payment date.

If you qualify for the Winter Fuel Allowance but you are not getting a social security benefit, or if you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit, then you will not be paid automatically and you will need to make a claim.

Furthermore, if you have not received Winter Fuel Payments before and any of the following apply to you, then you will also need to make a claim to get the payment.

- You don't get benefits or a State Pension

- You only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit

- You get benefits or a State Pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country

How to claim Winter Fuel Payments?

By phone

Call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0345 603 9439, (+44 (0)191 218 7777 from overseas) Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm.

By post

Fill in the appropriate form and make sure it arrives by the deadline. For 2016 / 2017 the deadline is 31 March 2017.

The claim form you need depends on where you live.

If you live in the UK

Download the form here

and post it to

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LR

If you live in Switzerland or an EEA country

Download the form here

and post it to

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1ZU
UK

How is the Winter Fuel Allowance paid?

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, such as your bank account, usually from the organisation that pays your benefits

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