When will pensioners get the winter fuel payment? How £600 cost of living grant is being paid and who gets it

Pensioners across the country will be eagerly awaiting the winter fuel payment, particularly with the cost of fuel being so high.

The Government has introduced a range of support measures this year, including a £400 energy rebate and £300 top-up for this year’s winter fuel payment, as well as a £650 cost of living payment for people on certain benefits.

Here’s when pensioners will get the winter fuel payment, and everything else you need to know.

Who qualifies for the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment, also referred to as a “heating allowance”, is an annual tax-free payment from the Department of Work and Pensions for older people.

Anyone who is eligible can receive £100-£300 each year. This year, the Government will give about eight million pensioners an extra £300 – bringing the total up to £600 – which is called the pensioner cost of living payment.

The winter fuel payment will be made available for households that include someone born on or before 25 September, 1956.

You must also live in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19-25 September, 2022. If you do not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both the following apply:

  • You live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country;
  • You have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK.

You cannot get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.

The payment is made to individuals, rather than households. However, people will receive less money if they live with someone who also qualifies.

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When will it be paid?

When he was chancellor, Rishi Sunak promised in the House of Commons that the winter fuel payment would be with pensioners by autumn 2022.

It has now been confirmed that they are being rolled out from Wednesday 23 November. You will get, or may have already received, a letter telling you how much you’ll get and an estimated payment date. You should be paid by 13 January, 2023 at the very latest.

If you do not get your payment, contact the winter fuel payment centre.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We want to do everything we can to support pensioners who are often the most exposed to higher costs. That’s why we’re providing all pensioner households with an additional £300 on top of their winter fuel payments to heat their homes and stay warm this winter.

“This extra payment is just one part of the wider support package we’re delivering to help with rising bills, including the biggest state pension increase in history.”

Do I need to apply for the payment?

You don’t typically have to apply for the winter fuel payment if you are eligible. You should receive the money automatically.

If you have not had the payment before, you will need to claim if any of the following apply:

  • You do not get benefits or a state pension;
  • You only get housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit;
  • You get benefits or a state pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country;
  • You get an adult disability payment from the Scottish Government.

You can claim the winter fuel payment by phone or by post. Call 0800 731 0160 (+44 191 218 7777 from outside the UK) or find the claim form here. Before you call, you will need to know your:

  • National insurance number;
  • Bank or building society details;
  • BIC and IBAN numbers if you live in an EEA country or Switzerland;
  • Date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate).

Claims will be accepted until 31 March, 2023.

How much will I get?

The amount you will get depends on when you were born, your living situation and the type of benefits you receive. Those benefits that can affect your payment are:

  • Pension credit;
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA);
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA);
  • Income support.

The figures below include the additional grant from DWP.

People born between 26 September, 1942 and 25 September, 1956, not on certain benefits:

  • You live alone or with no one else who qualifies – £500
  • You live with someone who also qualifies – £250
  • You live in a care home – £250

People born on or before 25 September, 1942, not on certain benefits:

  • You live alone or with no one else who qualifies – £600
  • You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies – £350
  • You live with someone over 80 who also qualifies – £300
  • You live in a care home – £300

People born between 26 September, 1942 and 25 September, 1956, and receiving at least one of the listed benefits:

  • You live alone or with no one else who qualifies – £500
  • You live with a partner who also qualifies, and either of you gets the benefits – £500 (only one of you gets the payment)
  • You live with someone (not your partner) who qualifies, and either of you gets one of the benefits – £500 (you’ll both get the payment)
  • You live in a care home – £0

People born on or before 25 September, 1942, and receiving at least one of the listed benefits:

  • You live alone or with no one else who qualifies – £600
  • You live with a partner who also qualifies, and either of you gets the benefits – £600 (only one of you gets the payment)
  • You live with someone (not your partner) who qualifies, and either of you gets one of the benefits – £600 (you’ll both get the payment)
  • You live in a care home – £0

Who gets the £650 cost of living payment?

According to Government guidance, the £650 payment is being offered to all households on means-tested benefits, including those receiving the following:

  • Universal credit
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Pension credit

For the second payment you must have been in receipt of one of these benefits, or have started a successful claim, for an assessment period from 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022.

The first and second payments are deliberately slightly unequal to minimise fraud risks. When you receive the payments depends on which benefits you receive.

When will pensioners get the second cost of living payment?

The final payments are being sent out in two stages, with the majority of claimants included in the initial roll-out.

People who receive pension credit, as well as those on universal credit and other low-income benefits such as income support, should get the money between Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 23 November 2022, the Government has said.

However, the DWP had advised households not to expect the payment to come through automatically on 8 November.

According to the Government: “The DWP will pay a small number of payments on 8 November, with numbers increasing significantly from 9 November.”

It also advises that claimants may be paid after 23 November, but only in “a small minority of complex circumstances”.

The Government gives the example of claimants who “were deemed unable to claim certain benefits, but won backdated entitlement on appeal, or where payments were rejected due to invalid account details”.

The claimants who only qualify through tax credits get their grant slightly later, as they did for the first payment, with the second phase of the final payment taking place between Wednesday 23 and Wednesday 30 November.

Claimants who receive both tax credits from HMRC and low-income benefits from the DWP will be included in the initial roll-out for the second payment.

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