All those of state pension age are potentially eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, plus an additional cost of living boost. Find out what this means, how much you’ll get, and what to do if you don’t receive it.
Around 11.5 million people are currently receiving a Winter Fuel Payment for the winter of 2023/24, according to the government, with the number increasing year-on-year. The payment aims to help older people with heating costs. Find out what to do if you haven’t received this below.
These payments have been made since the Labour government introduced them in 1997, and have more recently been bolstered by an additional cost of living payment. And with high prices still squeezing household budgets, it makes sense for anybody eligible to make sure they get their government grant to help out with the costly winter.
Also, it’s worth doing an energy comparison to find the right deal for you as we start turning on our heating more frequently.
So, with that and continuing high energy bills in mind, it’s worth checking if you’re eligible to get a payment, and what to do if you don’t receive one automatically.
Plus it’s worth checking what other financial help with energy bills may be available.
Please note that the Winter Fuel Payment is not to be confused with the Warm Home Discount, which you may also be eligible for. This is an annual payment of £150 paid directly to your energy supplier.
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What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
You can potentially get a payment between £250 and £600 towards your heating bills if you were born before 25 September 1957.
This Winter Fuel Payment also includes a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be between £150 and £300, topping up the usual amount. The payments usually come as one lump sum, and should be landing in pensioners’ accounts around now.
Those eligible should mostly receive payment automatically from the Department for Work and Pensions this winter. Payment began in November, and will continue during December and January.
The money will appear on bank statements with a payment reference beginning with customers’ National Insurance number, followed by ‘DWP WFP’ for people in Great Britain, or ‘DFC WFP’ for those in Northern Ireland.
Payments are tax free. They won’t affect other benefits you receive. And in most cases, they’re paid directly to your bank or building society account automatically, unless you’ve moved abroad.
How much you get depends on your specific circumstances, including your age, whether you live alone, or in a care home.
Please note that GOV.UK advises that – if you haven’t received a letter, or the money hasn’t been paid into your account by 26 January – you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
Who can get the payment?
You can get the Winter Fuel Payment for Winter 2023/24 providing you were born on, or before, 25 September 1957.
The amount you get depends on your age and circumstances during the week 18 to 24 September 2023. This is known as the ‘qualifying week’.
What if I live abroad?
Anyone not living in the UK during the qualifying week may still get the Winter Fuel Payment, provided you moved to an eligible country before 1 January 2021. You must also have links within the UK, like having lived and worked here, or have family here.
You can see a full list of eligible countries at GOV.UK. Note that warmer countries such as Spain, Greece or Malta are less likely to qualify for payment.
What other help is available?
If you’re struggling with your bills this winter, there may be other financial help available. For instance, you may get Cold Weather Payments if the temperature in your area falls below zero for seven days in a row.
In addition, check out our top energy saving tips to find out what you can do around your home to save on your energy bills.
How do I apply for the Winter Fuel Payment?
In most cases Winter Fuel Payments are made automatically, particularly if you receive certain benefits. You can see a full list of qualifying benefits at GOV.UK.
In some cases you may need to apply. This includes if you don’t receive qualifying benefits, and you’ve never had a Winter Fuel Payment before. Also, if you receive a state pension but live abroad, you may need to apply.
It’s also worth knowing that if you’ve deferred your state pension (ie, decided to put off taking it until a later date), you’ll also need to apply, as the Winter Fuel Payment won’t be made automatically.
How much is the payment worth?
The Winter Fuel Payment is worth between £250 and £600 per household, and payments are set at fixed levels: £250, £300, £350, £500 or £600. Please note that these are the combined Winter Fuel Payment and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment for 2023/24.
How much you get depends on your age and circumstances.
If you live alone, or nobody you live with is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment
- If you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957, you’ll get £500.
- If you were born before 25 September 1943 (in other words, if you’re 80 or over), you’ll get £600.
If you live with someone who’s eligible for the payment
If you claim one of the following benefits, your payment is likely to be different:
- Pension Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
If you don’t receive any of the benefits
- If both you and the person you live with were born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, you’ll get £250.
- If you were born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, but the person you live with was born before 25 September 1943, you’ll get £250.
- If you were born before 25 September 1943, but the person you live with was born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, you’ll get £350.
- If both you and the person you live with were born before 25 September 1943, you’ll get £300.
If you and your partner claim any of the benefits jointly
One of you will receive the payment, which will be paid into the bank account usually used for your benefits.
- If both of you were born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, you’ll get £500.
- If one or both of you were born before 25 September 1943, you’ll get £600.
If you receive any of the benefits, but not as part of a joint claim
- If you were born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, you’ll get £500.
- If you were born before 25 September 1943, you’ll get £600.
Will I get the Winter Fuel Payment if I live in a care home?
- If you were born between 25 September 1943 – 24 September 1957, you’ll get £250.
- If you were born before 25 September 1943, you’ll get £300.
However, you won’t get the payment if both of the following apply:
- You get one of the four benefits listed above
- You lived in a care home from 26 June to 24 September 2023 inclusive
I haven’t received my Winter Fuel Payment
If you think you’re due a Winter Fuel Payment and haven’t received a letter, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre via email form or call the helpline on 0800 731 0160. The line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Likewise, get in touch if the money hasn’t been paid into your account by 26 January 2024.
How else can I save on my energy bills?
There are plenty of ways to cut down your energy use, and pay less into the bargain. The first port of call should be our energy saving tips.
Plus here are some more handy energy guides:
- See how household items compare with our appliance cost calculator.
- Dishwasher vs hand washing – which costs less?
- Heated airer or dehumidifier – what’s the better way to dry clothes indoors?
- Heated airer vs tumble dryer: which works out cheaper?
- How much does it cost to boil your kettle?
- How much does it cost to run a fan?
- Is it better to heat rooms with underfloor heating or a radiator?
- Is it cheaper to turn the heating on a low setting all day or use timed bursts?
- Oven vs microwave – which works out cheaper to run?