How to Get Help with the Cost of Winter Fuel

If you're over 60 or on a low-income you could be eligible for help towards the cost of your energy bills this winter - we explain who qualifies for this extra payment.

Updated on 31 October 2013.

Woman snuggled up by fireplace

With the winter nights drawing in and temperatures dropping, many of us will be turning up our heating to help keep warm.

But as frugal as so many of us try to be with our heating, gas and electricity bills can still mount up and will be more of a drain on your household finances during the coldest months of the year.

Fortunately there's help at hand for those who are aged 60 and over or are on a low-income - though the payout you'll get is dependent on a combination of different circumstances.

Compare Debt Management
Debt management plans can help you pay debts off before they get any worse. Compare debt management plan providers to find one to cover your type of debt.
Compare Debt Management

We explain how to claim Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments to help towards the cost of heating your home.

Who is eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment?

A Winter Fuel Payment can be anything between 100 and 300.

If you are aged over 60 and are getting a State Pension or another benefit (though this doesn't include Council Tax benefit, Housing Benefit, or Child Benefit), your Winter Fuel Payment should automatically be paid to you along with your pension or benefit. You'll also be eligible for a payment if your partner is getting Pension Credit or Income Support, and has already received a Winter Fuel Payment.

If you're aged over 60 but don't receive State Pension or another benefit, you'll find how to claim your Winter Fuel Payment using these instructions. To support your claim you can use these notes. You can also pick up this form at your local Post Office or JobCentre Plus.

How much do I get for a Winter Fuel Payment?

The amount of help you'll get towards your heating costs from the Winter Fuel Payment varies depending on your circumstances.

  • If you're aged between 60 and 79 and live on your own or are the only person in your home that is eligible, you'll receive 200 per year. 
  • If you're aged between 60 and 79 and get Pension Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance, you'll receive 200 per year.
     
  • If you're aged between 60 and 79 and you live with someone else who is eligible, you'll receive 100 per year.
     
  • If you're aged 80 or over and live on your own or are the only person in your home that is eligible, you'll receive 300 per year.
     
  • If you're aged 80 or over and get Pension Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance, you'll receive 300 per year.
     
  • If you're aged 80 or over and you live with someone else who is eligible, you'll receive 150 a year.

Who is eligible for a Cold Weather Payment?

A Cold Weather Payment is designed to help those on a low-income cope with the cost of heating their home at times when it's particularly cold in the area they live.

You'll be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you receive Income Support or have a pensioner premium, disability premium, disabled child premium, Child Tax Credit (that includes a disability element) or if you have a child under 5 years old.

How much do I get for a Cold Weather Payment?

If you're eligible for a Cold Weather Payment, you'll receive 25 for every week that the average temperature in your local area drops to 0 degrees C or lower for 7 days in a row, between 1st November and 31st March. There's no need to apply for the payment - you should receive it directly into your bank account for every week that the temperature drops below zero for 7 consecutive days.

What if I'm eligible and haven't received anything?

If you think you are eligible for either the Winter Fuel Payment or Cold Weather Payment but haven't received anything, it's worth contacting JobCentre Plus and explaining your situation, as they may be able to back-date payments for you as well as make sure you are getting either the relevant help from now on.

It's also worth visiting Direct.gov if you'd like to find out more about the winter fuel payments.

Written by at money.co.uk

Compare Debt Management
Debt management plans can help you pay debts off before they get any worse. Compare debt management plan providers to find one to cover your type of debt.
Compare Debt Management

Further reading...

How to deal with debt collectors

Knowing how to deal with a debt collection company if you're approached for money can ensure you're not intimidated or mislead. Here's how to handle debt collectors and avoid the traps they set to get you to pay up.

Can't afford to go bankrupt? Here are your options

You may be surprised just how expensive bankruptcy can be if you have excessive debts. We look at what alternatives are available and where to find the support you need to tackle your own financial crisis.

Can debt collectors take money from your bank account?

Worried that cash will be taken from your bank account by companies you owe money to? We explain whether this is likely and what you can do about it.

The financial impact of depression and grief

Depression and grief affect many areas of your life and this includes your finances. We take a look at how to make sure your money situation doesn't add to your worries when you're going through such a difficult time.