The UK heating allowance, also known as the Winter Fuel Payment is a payment made to those of those over the age of 60 to help cover the cost of the increased heating bills that are faced during the colder winter months.

So many elderly people are reluctant to use their heating, even on the coldest of days because of the very high prices of domestic energy. Some fall seriously ill, or worse, do not survive the cold at all. The heating allowance payments are one way to reduce this problem.

What is the Heating Allowance?

The payments are completely tax free and range between £100 and £300 depending on your personal circumstances. The payments are made directly into the account of the recipient usually at some time between November and December. Payments are always paid before the Christmas holidays.

The payments are also usually paid automatically, however, if you think you are eligible and you have not received your payment then you may have to make a claim. The great thing about the heating allowance is the fact that if you are awarded it your other benefits will not be affected, and you will lose none of your other payments.

Who Gets It?

The actual amount you will receive will all be dependent on your particular circumstances during the qualifying week. This year the qualifying week was 17th September -23rd September.

The winter fuel payment will vary depending on your home circumstances, if you live with someone who is also eligible, if you live with someone who isn’t; the type of benefits your partner gets will also affect your allowance. Once you make your claim you will get a letter telling you how much you will get and your expected payment date.

Ex-Pats Can Claim Too

You may not know this but you may still be entitled to the winter fuel payment even if you no longer live in the UK. You will need to make a claim for the payment and as the claim forms are different if you live outside of the UK you must tell the person you request the form from, otherwise you will receive the wrong paperwork and your claim is likely to be rejected.

If you live outside the UK and are not a UK citizen then you will not be eligible for the benefit. You must have a genuine link to the UK in order to be considered for the payment.

Eligibility Limitations

You will not be eligible for the winter fuel payments even if you meet all the other criteria if during the qualifying week you are in prison, lived in a care home and were in receipt of certain benefits.

If you were in hospital for 52 weeks receiving free treatment or if you are an immigrant who did not qualify to DWP assistance. If you are unsure as to your eligibility contact your nearest DWP office who will be able to offer advice and assistance for your claim. Any change of circumstances must also be reported as this may affect any claim you make.

Your heating allowance claim is dealt with through the Department of Work and Pensions who will notify you if your claim is rejected, stating the reasons why. If you are unhappy with their decision you are free to appeal the decision.