The Winter Fuel Payment is one way older people can receive some money towards their heating bills, which could be worth up to £300. However, the payment has not increased in a decade.
In order to qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment, a person must have been born on or before September 26, 1955 and have lived in the UK for a minimum of one day during the week of September 20 to 26, 2021. This week is known as the ‘qualifying week’.
How much a claimant can receive is dependent on their circumstances during the qualifying week. Any money provided by the Winter Fuel Payment is tax-free and does not impact a claimants’ ability to receive other benefits.
The Winter Fuel Payment is worth a maximum of £300. This applies to people who were born on or before September 26, 1941 and live alone or with other people who do not qualify.
For people who were born on or before September 26, 1941 and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies, £200 can be claimed. This is also the case for those born between September 27, 1941 and September 26, 1955 who live alone or with other people who do not qualify.
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Claimants born before then who live with someone aged 80 or over who also qualifies, or who live in a care home and do not get certain other benefits can receive £150, whereas 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 other benefits are entitled to £100.
However, the amount received may differ if a claimant or their partner receives one of these benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.
For example, people born on or before September 26, 1941 who live with someone who also gets one of those benefits can still receive the full amount of £300, but only one person per household can get the payment.
People who are in the same situation but were born between September 27, 1941 and September 26, 1955 can receive a lesser amount of £200. Again, only one person per household will get the payment.
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Those who would usually qualify but live in a care home and get one of the benefits listed earlier cannot get any Winter Fuel Payment.
People who are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment should receive it automatically. However, there are some circumstances where a person may need to actually make a claim. This can be done by phone or by post.
Most payments are made automatically in November or December, but the deadline to claim for the winter of 2021 to 2022 is March 31, 2022.
Those who are eligible and either get the state pension or another social security benefit should get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically, but people who are on Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit will not.
Another credit available to pensioners in need is the Warm Home Discount, which provides pensioners with £140 off their electricity bill.
But like the Winter Fuel Payment, the Warm Home Discount has not increased in line with energy costs, and has sat at £140 for the last nine years.
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, has previously called for the discount to be increased, highlighting a rise in energy bills over the last year alone.
Martin tweeted: “The cheapest energy deals are nearly 40 percent higher than a year ago.”
He went on to say that keeping the Warm Home Discount at £140 in these circumstances “doesn’t add up.”
Pensioners who get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit are entitled to claim the discount, as well as people on lower incomes who meet their energy supplier’s criteria to be eligible.
The scheme opened for the winter of 2021 earlier this month and it may be possible to receive the discount against gas bills rather than electricity for people who use the same supplier for both gas and electricity.
People who use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter are still able to apply, and recipients can find out how the discount will be received from their relevant supplier once they have been confirmed as eligible.