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Winter Fuel Payments

Key information

A Winter Fuel payment is a one-off, tax-free payment made during the winter.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You will qualify for your first Winter Fuel Payment when you reach Pension Credit age

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: Department for Work and Pensions

 

Index

You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You will be eligible if you were born on or before 5 January 1952 (for winter 2013 to 2014) and you normally live in the UK.

If you live in another European Economic Area country or Switzerland you may still be eligible if you have a genuine link with the UK.

You do not have to have paid national insurance contributions.

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, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, you do not qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment.

Past winters

You may be able to get a Winter Fuel Payment for past winters 1997/98, 1998/99 and 1999/00 if you were aged 60 or over in the qualifying week for those years and were living in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

You must make a claim before 31 March 2014 if you think you qualify for these years. You can't make a late claim for any winter from 2000/01 onwards.

For more information, see the Winter Fuel Payments information on the GOV.UK website or call the Winter Fuel Payments helpline:

Telephone: 08459 15 15 15
From outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: 0845 601 5613

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How much does it pay?

See the Winter Fuel Payments information on the GOV.UK website for the rates available. These depend on your age and the age of your partner.

The money is normally paid from November and most payments are made by Christmas.

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How do I make a claim?

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.

For the winter of 2012/2013, claims needed to be submitted by 31 March 2013.

Claim forms and further information are available from the Winter Fuel Payment helpline 08459 151 515.

Or you can download a copy of the Winter Fuel Payment claim form (link opens in a new window) from the Gov.UK website.

In Northern Ireland

You can download a copy of the Winter Fuel Payment claim form for Northern Ireland (link opens in a new window) from the NI Direct website. 

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Challenging a decision

If you disagree with the decision made on your claim you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

See the Winter Fuel Payment information on the Department for Work and Pensions Guide to the Social Fund (link opens in a new window) for more information.

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Last updated: 25 February 2014

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