A guide to the Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956, you could receive  £250-£600 to help pay your heating bills (this date changes every year as people reach state pension age). This winter's payment (2022-2023) is higher than usual as the government has included an extra Cost of Living Payment alongside the usual Winter Fuel Payment to help pay for sky-high power bills. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment.

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956, you could receive  £250-£600 to help pay your heating bills (this date changes every year as people reach state pension age). This winter's payment (2022-2023) is higher than usual as the government has included an extra Cost of Living Payment alongside the usual Winter Fuel Payment to help pay for sky-high power bills. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment.

Sofia Hutson
Utilities expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 2 SEPTEMBER 2022

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free allowance paid by the government to help elderly people pay for their fuel and heating bills during winter.

In most cases, if you receive a State Pension or another social security benefit (not including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit), you should get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically. If you think you qualify, but haven’t received it, you’ll need to make a claim. See how on the GOV.UK website.

The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2022/2023 is 31 March 2023. Most payments are made between November and December.

The Winter Fuel Payment won’t affect any other winter allowances you receive, such as the Warm Home Discount. And it shouldn't be confused with the Cold Weather Payment, which is paid to people on specific benefits when the weather is consistently cold over seven consecutive days.

See more about who is eligible for cold weather payments

Am I eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment? 

You could qualify for the 2022/2023 Winter Fuel allowance if you: 

  • Were born on or before 25 September 1956
  • Lived in the UK for at least one day during the ‘qualifying’ week of 19-25 September 2022. 

The qualifying birth date updates annually to include each year’s new group of pensioners. So if you became entitled to the State Pension during the 2022/23 winter, you should qualify for a payment for the 2023/24 winter.

If you didn’t live in the UK during the qualifying week, you could still be eligible if: 

  • You live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country (excluding Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain, as average winter temperatures here are higher than the warmest region of the UK).
  • You’ve lived and worked in the UK for most of your life or have family in the UK.  

You won’t qualify for the Winter Fuel allowance if during the qualifying week:

  • You were in prison for the whole of the week
  • You were in hospital getting free treatment for more than 52 weeks
  • You need permission to enter the UK and are not entitled to claim public funds
  • You were in a care home from 27 June to 25 September 2022 and receive Pension Credit, Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

How much Winter Fuel Allowance will I get?

The amount you’ll get depends on your age and circumstances. For example, whether you live alone, with someone else, or if you or your partner receive other benefits such as:

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

The amounts of Winter Fuel Allowance shown in the table here, also include the 'Pensioner Cost of Living' payment to help with soaring energy costs. This is between £150 and £300 and is only being paid in winter 2022-2023.

  Born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956 Born on or before 25 September 1942
You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) £500 £600
You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies £250 £350
You qualify and live with someone over 80 who also qualifies £250 £300
You qualify, live in a care home and do not get certain benefits £250 £300

Your payment may be different if you or your partner gets one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support 
  Born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956 Born on or before 25 September 1942
You qualify, get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) £500 £600
You qualify and live with a partner who also qualifies and either of you gets one of the benefits £500 - only one of you will get the payment £600 - only one of you will get the payment
You qualify and live with someone (not your partner) who also qualifies and either of you gets one of the benefits £500 - you’ll both get the payment £600 - you’ll both get the payment
You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits Nil Nil

Any money you get is tax-free and will not affect any other benefits you receive. This payment will be in addition to any 'Cost of Living Payment' you get if you're entitled to a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits or a qualifying disability benefit.

How do I claim for Winter Fuel Payment?

You’ll usually get the payment automatically if you’re eligible. However, there are circumstances in which you’ll need to make a claim - for example if you haven’t had a payment before and you live in Switzerland or an EEA country. You'll also need to claim if you have carried on working and haven't claimed your State Pension yet. You can do this by phone or by downloading the claim form from the GOV.UK website.

Claiming by phone

The Winter Fuel Payment Centre is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, on 0800 731 0160. Relay, Textphone and British Sign Language options are available. For details and numbers see the GOV.UK website.

Make sure you have your National Insurance number and bank details to hand before you call. You’ll also need the date you were married or entered a civil partnership, if that’s relevant to your application.

Claiming by post

You can request a claims form by calling 0800 731 0160, or you can download it and print it out. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll need to send it to:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LR

If you are a pensioner on a low income, it's also worth checking if you can get Pension Credit too. An estimated 850,000 pensioner households are failing to claim a total of £1.7bn in benefits they are entitled to, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Being eligible for Pension Credit also means you can be entitled to additional support such as housing benefit and a council tax discount. Call the Pension Credit claim line to see if you’re due a payment that can be as much as £3,300 a year. 

How will my Winter Fuel Payment be paid?

You’ll receive a letter telling you how much you’re entitled to and an estimated payment date. Your Winter Fuel Payment will be paid directly into your bank account, usually between November and December.

If you do not get a letter or the money is not paid into your account by 13 January 2023, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.

What other government financial help is available to help pay winter fuel bills?

Electricity bill payers are due to receive a £400 grant towards their energy bills in six monthly instalments of around £66 starting in October.

You should have already received a £150 Council Tax rebate (which is non-repayable) in England for homes in the A-D Council Tax band too. Similar schemes will operate in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you didn't receive the money, you should contact your council directly.

The government is also providing an extra £500 million to the Household Support Fund (HSF) and a six-month extension until March 2023. This is designed to help households with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities. In England, the cash will continue to be given to local authorities, who will direct help to those who need it most.

Devolved administrations will receive £79 million of the additional funding and will share it out. If you need help paying for basic essentials, you should apply to your local authority. You can check to see if you are likely to qualify on the MoneyHelper website.

Also see our guide on help to pay your energy bill.