Winter is a harsh time of year for households, especially when it comes to covering the cost of energy bills.
The Government’s Winter Fuel Payment, however, may offer households up to £300 to help keep households warm if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Which? takes a look at who qualifies for the Winter Fuel Payment and how to make sure that you don’t miss out.
What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free payment from the government, which helps older people with their energy bills during the winter months.
The scheme was introduced around 20 years ago and the payments are made automatically each year.
Those who are eligible for the payment should get their money for winter 2017-18 by 15th January 2018.
- Find out more: warm front and other government grants.
Who is eligible?
The Winter Fuel Payment is made automatically to each eligible person in a household.
Every person who qualifies will receive a letter a explaining their individual payment details. To qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment you must:-
- Be born on or before the 5th August 1953
- Have lived in the UK for at least one day during the “qualifying week.”
This year the qualifying week for winter 2017-18 ran from 18th September to 24th September 2017. Those who qualify will receive a letter a explaining their individual payment details.
Who has to register?
There are certain circumstances where you may not be automatically signed up to the scheme, even though you meet the eligibility criteria.
You may have to register for the Winter Fuel Payment yourself if any of the following apply:
- You don’t get benefits or a State Pension
- You only get Housing benefit, Council Tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit
- You get benefits or a state pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country
You have until the 31st March 2018 to claim for winter 2017-18.
- Find out more: National insurance and benefits
How much can I claim?
The amount of money you are entitled to depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week.
For example, the number of eligible people living in your household or if you live in elderly care.
|Circumstance||Born between 25 September 1937 and 5 August 1953||Born on or before 24 September 1937|
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£100||£200|
|You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies||£100||£150|
|You qualify, live in a care home and don’t get certain benefits||£100||£150|
Your payment may be slightly different if you or anyone you live with is receiving any type of benefit.
|Circumstance||Born between 25 September 1937 and August 1953||Born on or before 24 September 1937|
|You qualify, get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and live with someone who also gets one of the benefits||£200 – only one of you will get the payment||£300 – only one of you will get the payment|
|You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits||£0||£0|
Are there any energy other discounts available?
The Government also offers a tax-free payment called the Warm Home Discount.
This scheme could get you up to £140 off of your electricity bill for winter 2017.
Unlike the Winter Fuel Payment, the money is not paid directly into your account. Instead it takes the form of a one-off discount on your electricity bill between September and March.
To qualify for the scheme you must either:
- Get the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit – also known as the ‘core group’
- Be on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – also known as the ‘broader group’
You should have received a letter by November 30th 2017 telling you how to get the discount if you qualify.
If you have not received a letter and believe that you are entitled to the discount, contact the Warm House Discount team via phone: 0800 731 0214 or post.
For more information about Government grants for energy take a look at our comprehensive guide.
Which? is also calling for fairer energy prices across the board to help the 16 million UK households paying over the odds for energy bills.