Gransnet forums


Heating allowance

(47 Posts)
Rosina Sun 10-Dec-17 17:38:42

Just been to a small social get together when the subject of the heating allowance came up. It was amazing - in the space of about two minutes and following several opinions being voiced it turned into almost a shouting match.
One of the party is comfortably off - huge house, lovely cars etc. and he was saying that he shouldn't be sent the heating allowance as people like him don't need it and it should be means tested. That really started the row; I suspect that he gives his allowance to charity as he is a generous man, but what do other Gransnetters think?

Surely the cost of administering a means test would far outweigh any saving, and people who feel they don't need it will give it to a deserving cause if they have that kind of nature. Those who don't need it but feel entitled would probably appeal the decision and cost even more in administration. Those of us who have worked all our lives and paid all contributions probably wouldn't get back everything we have paid in if we live to be 150, so are we depriving others ? I left there with my head reeling - what a lively afternoon!

Grannyknot Sun 10-Dec-17 17:45:08

Hi Rosina the subject comes up on Gransnet too and is also hotly debated:

Welshwife Sun 10-Dec-17 17:50:01

In France many things are sorted by the income tax office - they know exactly everyone's income and give any rebates etc automatically.

kittylester Sun 10-Dec-17 18:26:02

Currently, some people get Pension Credit and others get attendance allowance, some get both. They should get it and also free prescriptions etc. Those of us who have decent pensions and earnings and/or investments, shouldn't!

Maggiemaybe Sun 10-Dec-17 18:28:15

So they do here, Welshwife, but this isn't a case of who's entitled to the heating allowance. Everyone over a certain age is entitled to it, but some feel they do not want or need it.

I can't see the problem. If DH didn't want his, he'd simply donate it to a charity of his choice. Means testing is always costly as it has to be constantly reviewed. If enough of the comfortably off complain loudly enough and for long enough, we'll probably end up with it being abolished, and those who need it having to do without. It's already been cut in recent years.

vampirequeen Mon 11-Dec-17 09:05:01

If people think they don't need it they can always give it to charity. Most people I know need and rely on it.

Teetime Mon 11-Dec-17 09:08:41

I was brought up not to discuss money especially when in social company - nearly always ends in a row.

lemongrove Mon 11-Dec-17 09:21:29

What an afternoon for you!
Giving to charity if not needed is one option, giving to family members who may need it at Christmas is another.

Jalima1108 Mon 11-Dec-17 09:55:32

At least it wasn't a row over Brexit wink
Makes a change!

MawBroon Mon 11-Dec-17 09:57:42

Correct me if I have got the maths wrong, but donating it to charity could be giving them more couldn’t it if you Gift Aid it and as a tax payer oresumably that is legitimate?
Win, win.

Jalima1108 Mon 11-Dec-17 10:00:36

There is the argument that the State Pension should be increased so that these allowances (which are not subject to the triple lock) are not needed.
However, some people may not be able to put aside that extra £2 per week to enable them to heat their homes in the winter so coming when it does is probably the best way of administering it.
Those who do not need it can donate it to charity or to less well-off family members as suggested above.

My £10 Christmas bonus (plus) was spent on filling a shoebox for a homeless person.

Jalima1108 Mon 11-Dec-17 10:01:43

I used to gift aid then realised that I'm not a tax payer hmm

Nonnie Mon 11-Dec-17 10:06:12

What everyone forgets whenever this subject comes up is that this 'winter heating allowance' was originally paid instead of a pension increase that year. Had it been incorporated into the pension we wouldn't continually be arguing about it many years later!

I do think it should be part of the pension for admin reasons and also because then it would be taxed too. That would be a win for the UK and a minor loss for people who could afford it.

That of course all leads on to the £10 bonus!

Eglantine21 Mon 11-Dec-17 10:08:08

I'd forgotten all about the £10 bonus. I don't think I've had it yet.

AlieOxon Mon 11-Dec-17 10:30:07

I have shared it with my daughter in the past when she was alive.
As things are going I think I will need the heating bonus this year. I find I need things slightly warmer to feel ok these days.

GrandmaMoira Mon 11-Dec-17 10:31:38

I wonder if it would be expensive to set up for everyone to claim their heating allowance. Then, the people who feel they don't need it, wouldn't claim.
I'm not keen on the means testing as I don't get pension credit but, like many other pensioners, I am single with a small private pension and definitely not well off.

Jalima1108 Mon 11-Dec-17 10:39:15

I think that would cost more to administer than just paying it to everyone with their pension.
I did think - oh, my pension has gone up then realised it was £10 Christmas bonus week!

glammanana Mon 11-Dec-17 10:47:19

The DWP will know who is entitled and who isn't and should pay it accordingly this year I have donated mine to our local Church Charity which supplies Christmas lunch to people who would be on their own on 25th our young wives do all the catering and we usually feed about 25/30 people in total .

Nonnie Mon 11-Dec-17 11:03:22

Anyone donating please think about whether you can do it by gift aiding. It makes such a difference, at least another £40. I never give money if I can help it unless I can give it as gift aid. Surprised me at a recent funeral that there was a donation box (manned) and no mention of gift aid. I had already written my cheque and attached a note.

humptydumpty Mon 11-Dec-17 11:19:30

Speaking as someone who can't afford to retire but is struggling financially, the winter fuel allowance (which I am entitled to because I'm over state pension age, and which I've claimed for the first time this year) has been a lifesaver - and I wouldn't have got it if it had been included in the pension.

So keep the current, system, I say! I can't see what the problem is - give it away if you don't need it.

SueDonim Mon 11-Dec-17 11:59:53

Those who don't need the WFA can, as others say, donate it to charity. Means testing would be costly but an alternative would be to only pay it to basic rate tax payers.

You've solved a mystery for me though. We had a payment into our bank account for £10 and wondered what it was!

Esspee Mon 11-Dec-17 13:41:24

Gift Aid is so simple, at least that is what I thought.
My late husband made a generous gift to the hospice. After he died I received a letter from the IRS stating they had made payment to the hospice but as my husband had not paid enough tax in that year they were now demanding repayment from his estate.
I should have fought it but I had no fight left in me at that awful time. I wrote them a cheque and tried to banish the memory from my mind but it still rankles after 14 years.

rockgran Mon 11-Dec-17 13:59:49

I have turned up the heating with a clear conscience.

GrandmaMoira Mon 11-Dec-17 14:00:28

Esspee - I was asked in a charity shop whether I paid much tax and advised not to Gift Aid any donations else I could end up in your position.

lizzypopbottle Mon 11-Dec-17 15:13:12

I've paid tax and NI all my working life. People better off than I am paid more. I'm not complaining about the winter fuel allowance. Maybe people in my position should get a bit extra since there's no mains gas where I live. Other fuels are way more expensive. £200 makes a welcome dent in my bill for heating oil.