What is the winter fuel allowance, how much do you get and how to apply?

IF you were born on or before April 5, 1954, you could be eligible for up to £300 towards your heating bills.

Under the Government's winter fuel payment scheme, over-65s can get between £100 and £300 to offset the cost of keeping their homes warm.

Here's everything you need to know:

What is the winter fuel payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free benefit to help with heating costs.

Most people who are eligible for it get it automatically, for instance if you receive the state pension or other social security benefits (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you meet the criteria but don't automatically get the payment then you will need to apply.

The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2019 to 2020 is March 13 2020.

People qualify for a winter fuel payment if both of the following apply:

  • you were born on or before 5 November 1953
  • you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 17 to 23 September 2018 – this is called the "qualifying week"

If you did not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both the following apply:

  • you live in Switzerland or a EEA country
  • you have a genuine link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK for most of your life

But there are exclusions – you can’t get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain.

This is because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

You will not qualify if you:

  • are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
  • need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you can not claim public funds
  • were in prison for the whole week between 16 to 22 September 2019
  • lived in a care home for the whole time between 24 June to 22 September 2019, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

You may still be able to get the Cold Weather Payment or apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, even if you don't qualify for Winter Fuel Payments.

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How much can I get?

The winter fuel payment is worth between £100 and £300 depending on your age, whether you receive benefits and whether you live alone or not.

Payments are usually made between November and December, and you should get yours by January 13, 2020 at the latest.

If you haven't got your payment by then, you need to call the office that pays your benefits. You should be able to find the details on letters they have sent you.

See the table below for the full details.

Your payment may be different if you or your partner get one of the following benefits:

  • pension credit
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • income support

Here's how much you can claim in these scenarios:

Any money you get will not affect your other benefits.

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, such as a bank account.

Visit the Department for Work and Pensions website for more details.

How to get help paying your energy bills this winter – and save over £1,000.

From discounts to bonus payments, here’s four tips and tricks to keep your heating bill under control this winter.

What is the Warm Home Discount and how do you get £140 towards your electricity bill?

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