Winter Fuel Payments

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What are winter fuel payments? The answer is that they are a government welfare benefit that is awarded to the elderly in order to ensure that they can keep warm during the winter. To be eligible you have to be born on or before August 5th, 1953. The winter fuel payments amount is between £100 and £300 and the payments won’t affect any other benefit being claimed.

Winter Fuel Payments are usually awarded automatically to individuals who already get the State Pension or other social security benefits. Those who don’t automatically get winter fuel payments but are eligible can contact the DWP to get a form and make a claim.

Normally payments are made automatically between November and December of the relevant winter, but those who do not automatically get paid can usually make a claim any time up until the end of March for the relevant winter. Those who receive automatic payments should contact the DWP as soon as possible if they don’t receive a payment.

Eligibility Criteria for Winter Fuel Payments

The criteria for claiming or receiving winter fuel payments are that you are born on or before August 5th, 1953 and that you have been resident in the UK for at least one day during the ‘Qualifying Week’ in September of the relevant year, which is an unusual eligibility criterion.

The only loopholes in the qualifying week system are if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and have a strong link with the UK such as having lived and worked in the UK most of your life.
Some EEA countries don’t qualify you for winter fuel payments as their temperatures are higher on average than the UK. These include France, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain Greece, Gibraltar and Malta.

The following are not eligible for winter fuel payments. Those in prison during the qualifying week, those in the hospital for more than a year, those who need permission to enter the UK and have no recourse to public funds, those who have lived in a care home from June to September of the qualifying unit and get income-related benefits.

Alternatives to Winter Fuel Payments.

Those who don’t qualify for winter fuel payments may qualify for Cold Weather Payments or the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Changes in Circumstances.

It is important to keep the DWP updated with changes in circumstances so that the right amount of payment is made. For example, if you move house or have a change in income or health if you move into a care home or go into hospital, this may affect the amount you are paid and lead to you being underpaid or overpaid as the payments tend to be automatic. If you need to cancel your Winter Fuel Payment then you need to contact the DWP in advance.

Need to speak to a member of the Department - we are not affiliated with any organisation mentioned. for Work And Pensions about your issues? Our call connection phone numbers should be able to help – get in touch with the right department by dialling one of the contact numbers below.

Department - we are not affiliated with any organisation mentioned. Call Connection Phone Numbers - we are in no way affiliated with any organisation mentioned
Winter Fuel Payments (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0844 822 9167
Social Fund (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 506 0283
Crisis Loan (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2336
Jobcentre Appointments (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2322
Job Seeker’s Allowance Claims (New Claims & Existing) (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2383
Employment & Support Allowance (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2374
Income Support (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2374
Incapacity Benefit (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 504 0374
Universal Credit (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2382
Universal Credit (New Claims & Appointments) (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2382
Maternity Allowance (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 504 9433
Personal Independence Payment (Calls cost 7ppm + network charges) 0843 509 2380

Calls to the Social Fund on their direct number 0800 169 0140 are free from any BT landline (this include call/phone boxes) and also includes calls from most of the larger mobile phone networks.

Winter Fuel Payment Amounts.

The amount varies according to your age and whether you live with another qualifying person. The gov.uk site has a comprehensive list that shows who qualifies for what amount.

Payment amounts may also be affected by the following, if you or the person who you live with receive income based benefits such as pension credit, income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), or Income Support.

Payments.

Those eligible for Winter Fuel Payments will get a letter with the amount due and the estimated date that the money will be paid. If you receive other benefits then the money may be paid to you at the same time as your other benefit payments. If you receive a letter saying that you are due the Winter Fuel Payments, but they haven’t arrived by January, contact the office that wrote to you.

If you aren’t on social security benefits or getting the State Pension then your award may not be automatic and you will then have to make a claim to the DWP. If you are only on benefits such as housing benefit or other local government benefits, you won’t automatically get winter fuel payments and will have to apply.
If you are in Switzerland or an EEA country, you will have to apply as you won’t automatically get the benefit even if you are eligible.

What is a Winter Fuel Payment? An annual tax-free payment made to eligible older people to help towards winter fuel bills.
Eligibility
  • Payable to men and women who have reached women’s state Pension Age and are ordinarily resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland during the qualifying week (which is the week beginning with the Third Monday in September each year).
  • “For winter 2010/11 people born on or before 5 July 1950 will have reached the qualifying age for a payment”
Exclusions People who cannot get Winter Fuel Payment.

You will not qualify for a payment if, during the qualifying week, you are:

    • • In hospital getting free inpatient treatment and have been getting such treatment for more than 52 weeks.

• In custody serving a sentence imposed by a court.

• Subject to Immigration Control and not eligible for help from the Dept for Work and Pensions (for example, you have been allowed into the UK on the understanding that you are supporting yourself and are not entitled to help from public funds)

• Living in a care home, an independent hospital or Ilford Park Polish Resettlement Home (and have been for the preceding 12 weeks or more), and get Pension Credit, income-based Jobseekers Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance.

Couples receiving Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance will only get one payment made to the person receiving that benefit.

How is it paid? Generally paid automatically:
    • • into your bank, building or Post office card account or

• by cheque, or payable order sent to your address.

Will I have to make a claim?
  • Generally, there is no need to claim a Winter Fuel Payment as it is paid automatically.
  • If you get State Pension or another social security benefit (not including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit) during the qualifying week, or you got a Winter Fuel Payment last year, you should get a payment automatically between early November and Christmas each year, as long as your details are up to date and you still meet the conditions.
  • If you have not received a payment by Christmas, please call the office that normally pays your benefit or phone the Winter Fuel Payment helpline;

Phone: 0845 915 1515 Text Phone 0845 601 5613

However;

  • If you have not had a Winter Fuel Payment before, do not get benefits or you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit, you will need to make a claim.

When do I claim?

  • If you need to claim, send us your claim form quickly. If you can get a Winter Fuel Payment and we get your claim by the Friday of the September qualifying week, we can pay you by Christmas. If we receive your claim after this date. we cannot always pay you by Christmas

What if I have savings?

  • Savings do not affect Winter Fuel Payments.

If a customer is not in receipt of a qualifying benefit but feels they may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment they can apply but applications for 2009-2010 payments must be received by 30th March 2010.

New arrangements for customers living outside the UK Winter Fuel Payments for customers living in the European Economic Area (EEA) but outside the United Kingdom (UK) are processed
and maintained by the International Pension Centre (IPC) Any customers living in the EEA but outside the UK querying a Winter Fuel Payment should be directed to the following office: International Pension CentreWinter Fuel TeamRoom TC109, Tyneview ParkNewcastle upon TyneNE98 1BAEngland

Telephone number: (0191) 21 87777

Fax number: (0191) 21 83389

Textphone: (0191) 21 87280

International code: (+ 44 191)

E-mail: TVP.Internationalqueries@thepensionservice.gsi.gov.uk

Appeal If an applicant wants to know more about a decision or thinks it is wrong they can ask for an explanation. They should do this within one month of the date of the decision.

If they think the decision is wrong they can ask us to look at it again. If we cannot change the decision we will tell them why and they can ask for an appeal.

Help-line For additional information regarding Winter Fuel Payments, contact –
    • • Telephone 08459 151515

• Textphone 0845 6015613

All calls charged at local rate, lines open 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday

Call connection service – Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s network access charge.

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