Should you claim winter fuel payments?

In winter, getting all the financial help you're entitled to is essential if it's going to help you stay warm. If you're 62 or over, you can claim up to 300 in a winter fuel allowance - here's how.

Updated on 18 May 2015.

Man in warm clothes reading in front of fire

The cost of keeping your home warm in winter can soon mount up, especially when the temperature drops. So, to help those 62 or over cope with the cost of heating their home, the government introduced Winter Fuel Payments.

These are simple one off payments of up to 300 made at the start of each winter.

Do you qualify for winter fuel payments?

If you are over the age of 61 then there is a good chance that you will qualify for a winter fuel payment - exactly how much will depend on your circumstances.

If you were over 80 years old in the week 16th - 22nd September 2013 and live alone, or are the only person living in your property who qualifies for the Winter Fuel Payment you should be eligible for the full 300.

If you were born on or before the 5th January 1952 but are aged under 80, then you should qualify for a payment of 200.

However if you live with someone else who qualifies for the payment the amount you get will be split between the two of you. For example if you are both over 80 years old you will receive 150 each.

There are a couple of exceptions: if you are living in a care home or independent hospital and are already receiving other benefits such as Pension Credit, Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance you won't qualify for the Winter Fuel payment.

However, if you are living in a care home or independent hospital but don't receive any of the benefits listed above then you will be entitled to half the standard payment - so 100 or 150 if you are over 80.

The UK government is also reviewing whether to continue offering the Winter Fuel Payment to eligible persons living in warmer EEA countries. Legislation is expected to be introduced from 2015/16 subject to parliamentary approval.

For more information on eligibility visit the Gov.UK website.

How do you claim?

If you were paid the Winter Fuel Payment last year and you circumstances have not changed since then you should automatically be paid again this year without needing to submit a claim.

If you think that you are eligible for a winter fuel payment and didn't recieve it last winter, then you can claim by completing a form on the Gov.UK website and sending it to the specified address.

You will also need to enclose your birth certificate and, if your name doesn't match your birth certificate, some proof of when your name changed, such as a marriage certificate.

The Direct Gov website states that "The Winter Fuel Payment won't affect your other benefits and you won't have to pay Income Tax on it" so there is no need to worry about any benefit implications.

All claims for winter 2014/15 have to be made before the 31st March 2015 deadline.

What about cold weather payments?

Cold weather payments are paid during periods of extreme cold and often get confused with winter fuel payments.

You can find out exactly what they are and if you're eligible by reading our article on Cold Weather Payments.

Written by at money.co.uk

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