A guide to the Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, you could receive up to £300 per year to help pay your heating bills (this date will change every year as people reach pensioner age). It’s called the ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ but can also be referred to as the Winter Fuel Allowance.

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

If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, you could receive up to £300 per year to help pay your heating bills (this date will change every year as people reach pensioner age). It’s called the ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ but can also be referred to as the Winter Fuel Allowance.

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

Sofia Hutson
Energy expert
5
minute read
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Posted 13 JULY 2020 Last Updated 7 JUNE 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 2021/2022 was 31 March 2022. 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 2021/2022 Winter Fuel allowance if you:

  • Were born on or before 26 September 1955
  • Lived in the UK for at least one day during the ‘qualifying’ week of 20-26 September 2021.

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 2021/22 winter, you should qualify for a payment for the 2022/23 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
  • 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 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

Payments range from £100 to £300. So if you’re over 80 and live alone, for example, you’re likely to receive the full amount. More information on payments per household can be found on the government’s Winter Fuel Payment page. UK chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced in May 2022 an extra £300 one-off payment for pensioners on top of the winter fuel payment, to help with rising energy costs.

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 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

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.

See our guide to switching energy suppliers

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

Bill payers are due to receive a £400 grant towards their energy bills this autumn, which does not need to be paid back.

There’s 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.

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.