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Winter Fuel Allowance

The government's Winter Fuel allowance is a non means-tested benefit to help pay for heating. Find out who can get it, how to get it and how much you can get. If you haven’t received it before, find out what you need to do.

What is it?

Winter fuel allowance advice: a roaring fireThe Winter Fuel allowance is a tax-free payment to help older people keep warm during winter. It is provided by the government. At the moment, you may qualify if you were born on or before 5 January 1952.

You can still claim it if you're earning still or if you're claiming a benefit. Everyone of the right age is entitled to this payment, so it doesn't make any difference if you've got savings.

If you haven't received the payment before, you can find out when you'll be eligible on the Gov.uk website.

How much you can get

The amount of payment you can receive depends on your personal circumstances. Things like whether you live with someone else or on your own, whether you/they are on benefits and how old the other person is will all make a difference to how much you can receive. Find out from the Government how much you can get.

How much you can get and when you'll be paid

If you have previously received a Winter Fuel Allowance and there has been no change to your circumstances, you don’t need to reapply. You should automatically get your payment this year. If any of your circumstances have changed, you'll need to contact the dedicated helpline.

How to claim if you haven't received it before

If you have not received this payment before then you need to find out if you qualify. Applications for 2013 to 2014 will be available in August. You can no longer claim Winter Fuel Payment for 2012 to 2013. If your partner is currently receiving a Winter Fuel Payment, but you aren’t, then you will need to claim.

It's also worth checking if you're eligible claim Winter Fuel Payments for the winters you've missed, between 1997 to 1998 and 1999 to 2000.

How you will be paid

The payment is paid for the household. You will be paid directly into your bank account or by cheque depending on what you have requested.

If you’re receiving benefits, you’ll receive this allowance in the same way as you usually receive your State Pension or benefit. There will be one payment for both of you, if you’re a couple and both receiving any of the following:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If your partner gets any of the above benefits for you both, your partner will receive the full amount for both of you.

When you will be paid

The amount of Winter Fuel Allowance you can get for winter 2013/14 varies according to your personal situation. You'll normally be paid between November and December. 

Who doesn’t need to claim

If you receive State Pension or certain other benefits you will be paid automatically and don’t need to claim.
You don't need to claim if you're eligible and receiving at least one of the following (during the week of 16–22 September 2013):

Other things you might like...
  • State Pension
  • Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Pension Credit 
  • Attendance Allowance 
  • Bereavement Benefit 
  • Carer’s Allowance 
  • Disability Living Allowance 
  • Graduated Retirement Benefit 
  • Incapacity Benefit 
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits 
  • Severe Disablement Allowance 
  • War Pension 
  • Widow’s Benefit

This payment won't affect your other benefits and you won't have to pay Income Tax on it.

Who needs to claim

You’ll need to claim your allowance if the following apply:

  • you qualify
  • you’re not receiving any of the benefits above
  • you are getting Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit only.

You still need to claim even if your partner is already receiving a Winter Fuel Payment for your household.

How to claim

Applications for 2013 to 2014 will be available in August. To download the form and find out where to send it, go to the Directgov website.

What happens next

If you've got the claim form all filled out correctly and have supplied all the documents you needed, you will get a letter to tell you you've applied successfully. 

Otherwise, you will be contacted if you have not filled in the form correctly or additional information is needed. If you don’t complete the form in full and supply all the required information you may not receive your payment before Christmas, although most payments will be received between November and December.

You will then receive another letter telling you how much you will receive and when this is likely to be paid. 

Changes to the qualifying age

The qualifying age for both men and women is rising in line with the increase in women’s State Pension age. To reach the qualifying age for winter 2013/14 you will need to be born on or before 5 January 1952.

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