What is Winter Fuel Payment and how to claim the benefit?

If you were born before 5 November 1953 you will be entitled to the benefit
If you were born before 5 November 1953 you will be entitled to the benefit
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Many UK citizens are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, which is an additional benefit to help older people keep warm throughout the winter.

The Winter Fuel Payment, which is usually referred to as a “heating allowance”, is an annual tax-free payment from the Department of Work and Pension of between £100 and £300. It is designed to help people to pay for their heating in winter.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December, and people should get their money by 14 January 2019. That said, like any benefit, it’s always worth checking.

The allowance isn’t means-tested and people can still claim if they’re working or claiming benefits. The primary stipulation is simply age, although there are other qualifiers.

Members of the public automatically qualify for the Winter Fuel Allowance if they were born on or before 5 November 1953. And those claiming must have lived in the UK on any day throughout the week of 17-23 September 2018. This is a simple way of trying to determine the people who spend most of their time in the UK.

There are a number of rules that render elderly people exempt from the benefit.

People who would normally be eligible for the money will not receive any if they:

- Were in prison

- Were in hospital getting treatment for more than 52 weeks

- Needed permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds

- Have lived in a care home for the whole time between 25 June and 17 September 2018 and were receiving pension payments.

- Lived in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain £100 – £300

The Government said members of the public may still get the payment if both the following apply:

- They lived in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country

- But they have a genuine link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK for most of their life

While automatic once set up, people do need to claim the payment in the first instance, and if any of the following apply:

- They do not get benefits or a State Pension

- They only get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit

There is also a lesser-known benefit for all adults called the Cold Weather Payment, which people can apply for even if they don’t qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment.

The cold weather allowance is a payment made if the average temperature in the area somebody who is claiming benefits lives in is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days. It’s a much smaller amount – £25 for each seven day period of “very cold weather” between 1 November and 31 March.