Are you entitled to the Government’s Winter Fuel Allowance?
In addition to providing Green Deal home improvement funding, the Government has also been instrumental in the payment of fuel benefits for those facing the burden of expensive gas bills every winter.
Last year alone, the Government paid around £2.1 billion to £12 million people throughout the UK to ensure that everyone had a warm property that they could call home. As with every initiative, not everyone is eligible for winter fuel and heating allowances, but many individuals that do qualify are still not claiming what they are entitled to.
What is the Winter Fuel Payment?
Also known as the winter fuel or heating allowance, the Winter Fuel Payment offers a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 which enables individuals who meet the criteria to access help with their heating bills. This funding is often confused with the Cold Weather Payment, which is paid weekly during cold weather spells.
Do I qualify for Winter Fuel Payments?
Winter Fuel Payments are only available to individuals residing in Great Britain or Northern Ireland who are aged 62 or over. However, those that meet this initial criteria may not qualify if they were:
- Receiving free treatment at a hospital for more than 52 weeks
- Serving a prison sentence
- Subject to immigration control
- Living in a care home or independent hospital.
It’s important to understand that any money you receive under the Winter Fuel Payment scheme will not affect your existing benefits.
How much am I entitled to?
The amount of Winter Fuel Payment that you receive will depend entirely on your circumstances, with payment increased for applicants aged 80 or over upon qualification.
Applicants who live alone or are the only individual in the house who qualifies under the Winter Fuel Payment scheme will be entitled to up to £200, a payment that rises to £300 if the applicant is 80 years of age or over. Those that receive Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance will also be entitled to a payment of between £200 and £300.
However, those who do qualify for the winter fuel allowance but live with someone that claims Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance will not be eligible for any form of Winter Fuel Payment.
How can I claim my winter fuel allowance?
Seeking further information or starting the application process for your winter fuel allowance couldn’t be easier, simply visit the GOV.UK website or call the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline on 0845 915 1515.
Please note that you cannot claim for your 2014/2015 Winter Fuel Payment after 31st March 2015.
What extra help is available for those struggling with energy payments?
As well as the Winter Fuel Payments, which are restricted to those at pension age claiming certain benefits, there is a range of extra help available for those struggling to pay their energy bills.
If you are a pensioner, disabled, chronically ill, unable to look after your own welfare or on a low income, the Warm Home Discount Scheme may provide a way to reduce your gas bill over the winter months.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers a rebate on your energy bill to ensure your household bills remain affordable whatever the year brings. A rebate of up to £140 is available for qualifying applicants.