Winter Fuel Payment scheme is open – are you among pensioners who need to make a claim?

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Heating a home can be difficult in the winter, particularly as the cost of staying warm skyrockets while temperatures drop. Fortunately for pensioners, there are a variety of benefits available to help people cope with the costs of winter, such as the Winter Fuel Payment.

What is the Winter Fuel Payment?

The Winter Fuel Payment is a supplementary amount paid to some pensioners to help them with their heating bills during the winter months.

It provides between £100 and £300 to eligible recipients, depending on their circumstances.

The payment can be claimed by people born on or before September 26, 1955, who lived in the UK for at least one day during the qualifying week of September 20 to 26, 2021.

People who did not live in the UK during this time may be able to claim if they live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country or have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK.

A genuine and sufficient link can include having lived or worked in the UK, or having family in the UK.

People living in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain cannot claim it because the average winter temperature in those countries is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

Any money received from the Winter Fuel Payment will not affect other benefits claimants receive.

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Winter Fuel Payments are different from Cold Weather Payments, which are paid out when the temperature drops below a certain level.

How to claim

Most people who are eligible will get the payment automatically and will not have to make a claim.

Those who get the state pension or another social security benefit (not including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit) should be paid without making a claim.

However, there are some people who will not be automatically paid, and should make a claim to see whether they are eligible.

People who do not get the state pension, only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit, or get one of the qualifying benefits but live in Switzerland or an EEA country need to make a claim.

Claims can be made by phone or by post.

Anyone who has received the Winter Fuel Payment before should not have to claim again, unless they defer their state pension or move abroad.

The good news is that for anyone who has yet to claim and may need to, the deadline for the winter of 2021/22 is March 31, 2022, giving them plenty of time to get their money.

Recipients who get their payment automatically may have already received it, with most payments made in November and December.

Anyone who should receive their money automatically but has not yet, should be paid by January 14, 2022.

If a person is expecting to receive the benefit and does not, they can phone the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160.

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