A Winter Fuel payment is a one-off, tax-free payment made during the winter. It has usually been paid to people aged over 60. You do not have to have paid national insurance contributions.
You used to get your first Winter Fuel Payment at the age of 60 but this has changed.
If you are applying for a Winter Fuel Payment for the first time, you now qualify when you reach state pension age.
If you are a woman, the state pension age is the age at which you can get your pension. If you are a man, the state pension age is the state pension age of a woman born on the same day as you.
You can work out the exact date of your state pension age by using the state pension age calculator (link opens in a new window) on the Government's Directgov website.
If you have already received a Winter Fuel Payment in a previous year, you won't be affected by the age changes.
If you meet the qualifying age, but you live in a care home you get a reduced payment. But if you live a care home and get Pension Credit or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, you do not qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment at all.
A Winter Fuel Payment does not depend on how much income or savings you have.
The money is meant to help with fuel costs but it is up to you how you spend it. The money is normally paid from November and most payments are made by Christmas.
If you are already getting benefits, your Winter Fuel Payment will be paid in the same way, that is, directly into your bank or building society. Or you will be sent a cheque which you can cash at a post office.
If you must claim your Winter Fuel Payment (see how to claim below), you can choose how it is paid.
For the winter of 2010-2011, the payment is between £100 and £300, depending on your circumstances.
A Winter Fuel Payment is not a taxable benefit.
Most people do not need to make a claim for a Winter Fuel Payment. You are usually paid automatically if you are getting other benefits like State Retirement Pension. You will also be paid automatically if you got a payment last winter and your circumstances have not changed.
If you are not getting other benefits and you did not get a payment last winter, you must make a claim. You can get a claim form and more information by calling the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on: 08459 151 515. Or you can download a copy of the Winter Fuel Payment claim form (link opens i... from the Directgov website.
In Northern Ireland, you can download a copy of the claim form for Northern Ireland (link opens ... from the NI Direct website.
For the winter of 2011/2012, you should put in your claim between August 2011 and 30 March 2012.
You need to give your national insurance number and send in your birth certificate.
The Turn2us Benefit Checker can help you find out if you qualify for Winter Fuel payments.
There are many special organisations for older people. They can help you with other information as well as giving you information about Winter Fuel Payments. For example, you could phone the Age UK (link opens in a new window) helpline on 0800 169 6565.
The Citizens Advice website (link opens in a new window) can give you more information about Winter Fuel Payments.
Directgov, the government website, (link opens in a new window) has more information about Winter Fuel Payments.
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a four-year scheme that runs from April 2011 to March 2015 to help low-income and vulnerable households with energy costs.
The scheme will be worth up to £1.1bn over the next four years and we expect around 2 million low-income and vulnerable households will be assisted annually.
The funding will come from the participating energy suppliers.
The scheme will require participating energy companies to give a discount on electricity bills to a specified group of their older customers, known as the 'Core Group'.
Eligibility for the Core Group is linked specifically to the type of benefits received and for this winter, a rebate of £120 off electricity bills will be provided to older people where they pay their own bills and are in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit on the qualifying date of 11 September 2011. Customers receiving the savings credit element of pension credit will not be eligible this winter.
Some other groups of households may also receive support. See below for further information on how other groups of households....
In the first year of the scheme (2011/12), you may qualify for a £120 rebate – funded by your electricity supplier – on your electricity bill. This only applies if you were receiving only the guarantee credit element of pension credit on the qualifying date of 11 September 2011. You will not qualify if you get the savings credit element of pension credit.
Additionally, in order to qualify your electricity provider must be participating in this scheme (see list of participating suppliers below) and your name or that of your partner must be on the electricity bill.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and participating electricity suppliers will share some limited information about their customers. This will allow participating suppliers to give the rebate automatically to customers who qualify.
Contact us at email@example.com if you would like to know more about how the data-sharing process will work.
The first energy rebates will be made in winter 2011/12. If you qualify you’ll receive a confirmation letter from the Government this winter.
If you qualify but a rebate can’t be made automatically, you’ll receive a letter asking you to provide further information that is available on your electricity bill.
The Government recognises that other groups such as low income families and those with long-term illnesses and disabilities may also need assistance with their energy costs.
As part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme, participating electricity suppliers have been asked to provide a set amount of support to a 'broader group' of their customers, which will also receive a rebate of £120 in 2011/12. These groups will not be identified through data matching; instead each supplier will make its own arrangements to find eligible customers. All suppliers are expected to have Broader Group schemes open later this year.
Some people have received social or discounted tariffs from their suppliers over the last three years. Suppliers are able to continue providing this sort of support through the Warm Home Discount scheme in 2011/12.
The electricity suppliers involved in this scheme are:
Find out if you are in fuel poverty by using the Turn2us map
Why are we always having to "claim" something in this country ?
Winter Fuel payments establish that the State pension is not enough to live on.
Claiming ensures a means test, and means testing pensioners is a disgrace.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme provides £120 rebate on your electricity bills in winter 2011/12. Find out below if you qualify, when you’ll get your rebate and how the scheme works.
The scheme is not adaquate. Reducing bills for the poor in general, and the elderly who feel the cold more, is.
Also a higher State pension is essential
...yet for people who have never been aware of the scheme and qualify, this information from Kevin could be a very welcome lifeline - so thank you for sharing Kevin!
Michael did you see this story in the news last week Ed Miliband called for older people to automatically be put on the cheapest energy tariffs - http://www.anchor.org.uk/about-anchor/anchor-news/anchor-and-sector...
Not exactly groundbreaking - obvious really, but it's good to see it being raised.
H yes I saw this, and yes it would help if made law, but the bottom line is that our Utilities should all be taken back into public ownership following Thatcher's privatisation in the 80's.
It seems to me that Ed Milliband is going to continue the free market put in place by Thatcher, and kept in place by Blair and Brown, while the rest of us will have to be content with a sticking plaster, and I believe the highest Utility charges, with the lowest State pensions in Western Europe.
Hi, The British need an attitude change about how we feel about our elderly people, because for far too long the attitude has been, out of site, out of mind. We are not like the European’s who revere their elderly people.
Europe shames Britain on care for the elderly as we rank 17th out of 20 in list of money spent on our elders
Successive governments have betrayed Britain’s pensioners by spending less on social care for the elderly than almost any other country in Europe.
Research which campaigners say ‘should shame us as a nation’ has found that Italy and France spend twice as much on their pensioners as we do in the UK.
Britain comes 17th out of the 20 major European countries surveyed, behind wealthy Germany as well as former Communist countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic.
Proportionally the UK spend less than half of the what Italy do on the elderly.
It shows that the UK simply does not respect and care about their elderly people as much as our EU neighbours do.
The tiny amount of public spending committed to the elderly – 5.8 per cent of national income compared to 11.7 per cent in Italy – is a key reason behind the scandal of tens of thousands of people having to sell their homes every year to pay for their residential care.
The Pensioners Winter Fuel Payment has been cut by this right wing Tory lead coalition.
For the over 60’s, the annual payment has been cut by £50, leaving £200.
For the over 80’s, the annual payment has been cut by £100, leaving £300. This is to supposedly save money.
Please go to this link, and listen to my plea to help the elderly, and then please sign my pensions petition on the Government’s web site.
100,000 signatures need to be gathered for this issue over the next 6 months, for the issue to be raised by the politicians and voted for or against in the House of Commons.
Please play your part.