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Winter Fuel Payment

Find out if you are eligible for this tax-free payment towards heating costs and get advice on how to make a claim, as well as information about Warm Home Discount Scheme and Cold Weather Payment.
4 min read
In this article
What is Winter Fuel Payment? Eligibility for Winter Fuel Payment How the Winter Fuel Payment is calculated Receiving Winter Fuel Payment
Should you need to make a claim Appealing against a decision about Winter Fuel Payment Warm Home Discount Scheme Cold Weather Payment

What is Winter Fuel Payment?

This tax-free, annual payment of between £100 and £300 is designed to help older people with their heating costs in the colder winter months. It is also known as Winter Fuel Allowance.

Eligibility for Winter Fuel Payment

To receive this payment, you must have been born on or before 5 April 1954, and have lived in the UK for at least one day during the ‘qualifying week’. For 2019-20 payments, this will be the week of 16-22 September 2019.

You may also be entitled to the payment if you:

  • live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • have lived or worked in the UK for most of your life.

You won’t be eligible to claim if you:

  • live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain, due to their warmer climates
  • were in prison for the whole of the qualifying week
  • lived in care and received certain benefits
  • have been receiving free treatment in hospital for more than a year.

How the Winter Fuel Payment is calculated

How much you receive for Winter Fuel Payment depends on your living circumstances and age during the qualifying week.

You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify):

  • Aged 65 to 80: £200
  • Aged 80 or over: £300

You qualify and receive one of the benefits listed below:

  • Aged 65 to 80: £200
  • Aged 80 or over: £300

You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies:

  • Aged 65 to 80: £100
  • Aged 80 or over: £200

You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies:

  • Aged 65 to 80: £100
  • Aged 80 or over: £150

You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner, and they get one of the benefits listed below:

  • Aged 65 to 80: your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf
  • Aged 80 or over: your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf.

You qualify, but live in a care home or independent hospital and don’t get any of the benefits listed below

  • Aged 65 to 80: £100
  • Aged 80 or over: £150

Applicable benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Income Support.

Receiving Winter Fuel Payment

Most payments are made in November or December, but should arrive by mid-January at the latest.

If you receive State Pension or the other benefits listed above, you’ll receive the payment automatically at the same time as these payments. If you don’t receive other benefits and are still eligible, you may need to make a claim.

Should you need to make a claim

You’ll need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre and gov.uk recommends that you initially call them.

Call the Winter Fuel Payment centre to request a claims form or to get help and information:

0800 731 0160


0800 731 0464

Visit gov.uk for more information about claiming Winter Fuel Payment.

In order to claim this heating allowance you will need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank or building society details
  • the date you were married/entered into a civil partnership (if relevant)
  • if you live in the EEA or Switzerland, you will need to provide your BIC and IBAN numbers
  • details of your residence during the qualifying week.

Appealing against a decision about Winter Fuel Payment

If you apply for Winter Fuel Payment and don’t agree with the decision you receive, you may be entitled to appeal against it – this is also known as ‘mandatory reconsideration’. See our article on Appealing against a benefits decision for more advice on how to appeal.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a payment of £140 to help those struggling to pay their energy bills during winter. It’s a compulsory scheme for the large energy companies, and some of the smaller ones, and it’s paid as an annual credit into the electricity account of those who are eligible.

Two groups of people are eligible for the warm home allowance:

  • The core group: those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. Usually, the energy supplier will identify automatically whether you’re eligible, so there’s no need to apply for it.
  • The broader group: those on a low income or who get certain means-tested benefits.

Each supplier has its own eligibility criteria to assess those in the broader group, and these are approved by the regulator Ofgem. Find out more about the different suppliers’ eligibility criteria, along with more in-depth information about the allowance, in the Which? Home & garden article on Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The 2019-20 scheme will commence on 14 October 2019.

In Northern Ireland, the Warm Home Discount Scheme doesn’t apply as the Northern Ireland Executive decides its own fuel poverty objectives and policies.

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Cold Weather Payment

If you’re receiving certain benefits, such as Pension Credit and Universal Credit, you may be able to claim Cold Weather Payments to help pay for extra heating costs during periods of very cold weather.

When the average temperature where you live is recorded as (or forecast to be) 0°C or below for seven days in a row, you can apply to get a £25 payment. You can apply for every seven-day period of very cold weather that occurs between 1 November and 31 March.

You can check to see if the temperature in your area meets the requirements using a handy postcode tool on the gov.uk website.

If you’re eligible for a Cold Weather Payment, you won’t need to make a claim as it will be calculated automatically and paid directly into your bank account along with your benefits.

Further reading

Benefits for older people

Read about the benefits available in later life: Attendance Allowance, PIP, Winter Fuel Payment and more.

Attendance Allowance

Read about Attendance Allowance and the payment rates, plus tips on applying and completing the form.

Last updated: 28 Jun 2019