State pension age: You could get up to £300 extra this winter – who needs to claim
Winter fuel payments: Johnson responds to calls for expansion
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People who were born on or before September 26, 1955 could get between £100 and £300 to help towards the cost of their heating bills. This is known as the Winter Fuel Payment and is one of a number of benefits available to help older people stay warm during the cold months of winter.
The deadline to make a claim for winter 2021 to 2022 is March 31, 2022. Most payments are made automatically in November or December and claimants should get their money by January 14, 2022.
To qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment, one must have been born on or before September 26, 1955 and have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 20 to 26, 2021. This is known as the ‘qualifying week’.
Those who did not live in the UK during the qualifying week might still get the payment if they live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK. This can include having lived or worked in the UK or having family in the UK.
How much one gets depends on their circumstances during the qualifying week. Any money received is tax-free and will not affect one’s ability to claim other benefits.
The Winter Fuel Payment is worth up to £300, depending on one’s circumstances. People who were born on or before September 26, 1941 and live alone or with other people who do not qualify are entitled to the full £300.
Those born on or before September 26, 1941 and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies can claim £200, as can people who were born between September 27, 1941 and September 26, 1955 and live alone or with other people who do not qualify.
People born before that date and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies or live in a care home and do not get certain benefits can get £150, and people born between September 27, 1941 and September 26, 1955 who live with someone else who qualifies or live in a care home and do not get certain benefits are entitled to £100.
The payment received may be different if a claimant or their partner gets one of the following benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.
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Claimants who were born on or before September 26, 1941 and live with someone who also gets one of the benefits can get the full £300, but only one person in the household will get the payment. People under the same circumstances but born between September 27, 1941 and September 26, 1955 will get £200. Again, only one qualifying person in each household will get the payment.
Most payments are made automatically in November or December and claimants will get a letter telling them how much they will get and an estimated payment date. People who have not received their money by January 14, 2022 should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
How to get the Winter Fuel Payment
It is not usually necessary to claim the Winter Fuel Payment, as one should get it automatically if they are eligible. However, if someone does need to claim, they can do so by phone or by post.
People who qualify but live in a care home and get one of the benefits will not receive any Winter Fuel Payment.
One will get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if they are eligible and either get the state pension or get another social security benefit, but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit.
If one does not get either of these, or if they live abroad, they may need to make a claim. People who have received a Winter Fuel Payment before do not need to claim again unless they have deferred their state pension or moved abroad.
People who live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain cannot get the payment because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.
Any money one gets will not affect their other benefits, and people should note that Winter Fuel Payments are different to Cold Weather Payments, which is given if the average temperature in one’s area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
It may still be possible to get the Cold Weather Payment or the Warm Home Discount, even if one does not qualify for Winter Fuel Payment. The Warm Home Discount provides £140 off the heating bills of people on low incomes during the winter months.
Those who lived in a care home for the whole time from June 28 to September 26, 2021, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) cannot apply for the Winter Fuel Payment.
People should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre if they have claimed Winter Fuel Payment before and need to report a change of circumstances, need to change their address or personal details, want to cancel future payments or want to return a payment.
It is important to report any change of circumstances as soon as possible, as these can affect how much Winter Fuel Payment one gets. For example, if one stops getting a benefit, moves house or goes into care.
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