State pensioners warned Winter Fuel Payment qualifying week is near

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State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify

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The Winter Fuel Payment is an important entitlement for millions of older people, particularly as they grapple with the cost of living crisis. Energy bills have soared, and many are worried about how they will keep up with the added cost without sacrificing their typical energy use.

In efforts to help pensioners keep warm and manage their costs each year, the Government issues a Winter Fuel Payment to eligible people.

It is designed to go towards paying one’s heating bill, which could be particularly helpful this winter.

The payment is made available to individuals born on or before September 25, 1956.

These individuals could, this year, get between £250 and £600 to help with associated winter costs.

However, the age requirement is not the only factor of eligibility older people will need to consider.

Eligibility for a Winter Fuel Payment is dependent on where claimants are based during a specific week this month.

People will qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both of the following apply: 

  • They were born on or before September 25, 1956
  • They lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19 to 25, 2022.

This specific week is called the “qualifying week” and is fast approaching in a number of days.

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As a result, pensioners may wish to make sure they are in the UK next week to secure their Winter Fuel Payment.

However, if a person did not live in the UK during the qualifying week, they might still be able to secure the payment.

Both of the following will need to apply for this to be the case:

  • A person lives in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • The person has a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – which can include having lived or worked in the UK, or having family in the UK.

Certain individuals will not be able to qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment.

For example, those living in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain will not get the payment.

This is because the average winter temperature in these countries is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

Others who will not qualify include:

  • Those in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
  • Those who need permission to enter the UK, with a granted leave status saying they cannot claim public funds
  • Individuals who were in prison for the whole of the qualifying week
  • People who lived in a care home for the whole time from June 27 to September 25, 2022 claiming Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Britons typically do not have to claim the Winter Fuel Payment each year.

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Individuals will usually secure it automatically if it is found they are eligible for the payment.

Some, however, will need to claim – for example, if they do not get benefits or the state pension.

Those who need to claim can do so via phone or by post, by contacting 0800 731 0160, or by posting a claim to the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, with full details available on the Government website.

Before someone makes a call, they will need to have the following information to hand:

  • National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society details
  • BIC and IBAN numbers for those living in an EEA country or Switzerland
  • The date a person was married or entered into a civil partnership – if appropriate.

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