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A guide to the Winter Fuel Payment

If you've reached pension age, you can get help from the government towards the cost of your winter fuel bills.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment, including who qualifies and how much you'll get.

If you've reached pension age, you can get help from the government towards the cost of your winter fuel bills.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Winter Fuel Payment, including who qualifies and how much you'll get.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Utilities comparison expert
Last Updated
25 SEPTEMBER 2023
5 min read
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What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

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

The government sets a date each year that defines eligibility for the payment. This date changes every year to include people reaching the State Pension age during the winter.

In most cases, if you receive a State Pension or some other eligible benefits, 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. This would apply, for example, if you had decided to defer claiming your State Pension. Any claim for the winter must typically be made by the end of March. See how to make a Winter Fuel Payment claim on the GOV.UK website.

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

How much is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel payment for winter 2023/24 is between £250 and £600.

The amount you'll receive is inclusive of a "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" of £150-£300. This is in addition to any other Cost of Living payment benefits you receive. 

Am I eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment? 

You could qualify for the 2023/2024 Winter Fuel allowance if you: 

  • Were born on or before 25 September 1957

The qualifying birth date updates annually to include each year’s new group of pensioners.

Am I eligible for the winter fuel payment if live abroad?

To be eligible, you’ll have need to have lived and worked in the UK for most of your life or have family in the UK. If you didn’t live in the UK during the qualifying week, you could still be eligible if you live in:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain are excluded as average winter temperatures here are higher than the warmest region of the UK.

Do all pensioners get winter fuel allowance?

No. 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 and receive Pension Credit, Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

Can husband and wife get winter fuel allowance?

Yes, potentially – as can civil partners and same sex married couples. But this will depend on your situation in the qualifying week including:

  • The age of each person
  • If both people are eligible
  • If you or they are receiving certain benefits
  • Whether benefits are claimed jointly or not
  • Whether you live in in a care home.

All of this can affect how much you receive – we'll now look at this in a bit more detail below.

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 certain other benefits.

If you live alone or no one you live with is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment

You’ll get either:

  • £500 if you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £600 if you were born before 25 September 1943

If you live with someone else who’s eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment

You may get a different payment if you get one of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If you don’t get any of the benefits:

You’ll get a payment of either:

  • £250 if you and the person you live with were both born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £250 if you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957 but the person you live with was born before 25 September 1943
  • £350 if you were born before 25 September 1943 but the person you live with was born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £300 if you and the person you live with were both born before 25 September 1943.

If you and your partner claim any of the benefits jointly:

One of you will get a payment of either:

  • £500 if both of you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £600 if one or both of you were born before 25 September 1943.

The payment will be paid into the same bank account as your benefits are usually paid into.

If you get any of the benefits, but don’t claim jointly:

You’ll get a payment of either:

  • £500 if you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £600 if you were born before 25 September 1943.

If you live in a care home

If you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment you’ll get either:

  • £250 if you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957
  • £300 if you were born before 25 September 1943.

Any money you get is tax-free and won’t affect any other benefits you receive. The payment will be on top of 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’re a pensioner on a low income, it’s 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 can open doors to other benefits – including help with housing costs, council tax, heating bills.

Call the Pension Credit claim line to see if you’re due a payment that can be as much as £3,500 a year. You do not need to be in receipt of State Pension to receive it.

How will my Winter Fuel Payment be paid?

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

If you didn’t get a letter or the money wasn’t paid into your account by 26 January 2024, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.

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

The government has put together a package of support for help with energy bills as well as the cost of living. See details on how to get help with your energy bills.

Find out what to do if you can’t afford to pay your energy bills.

Sajni Shah - Consumer expert on utilities and money

Sajni is passionate about building products, allowing Compare the Market to help you make great financial decisions. She keeps track of the latest trends and evolving markets to find new ways to help you save money.

Learn more about Sajni

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