A guide to Winter Fuel Allowance for pensioners

Energy bills remain high, but for pensioners there may be a number of schemes you can tap into to help you cover the costs over the colder months. One of those is Winter Fuel Allowance, so read on to discover what it is, whether you might be eligible and more.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

What is Winter Fuel Allowance?

The Winter Fuel Allowance, also known as the Winter Fuel Payment, is a one-off tax-free payment paid to any households where one of the residents is in receipt of the state pension.  It is designed to help older people keep warm during the winter months which is particularly important at present given the high energy prices.  


At what age do you receive Winter Fuel Allowance?

You will be eligible to claim Winter Fuel Allowance at the age of 66 this year - provided you were born on or before 24 September 1957.

A burning gas hob
A temperature gauge in a wall
A fireplace in a modern home

How much is the Winter Fuel Allowance?

  • The amount of Winter Fuel Allowance you receive depends on your age and your living situation during the qualifying week. The qualifying week for winter 2023 to 2024 is 18 to 24 September 2023.
  • If you were born between 25 September 1943 and 24 September 1957, and you live alone or with people who were born after September 1957, you receive £500.
  • If you were born in the qualifying period and live with another pensioner who is aged under the age of 80, you both receive £250.
  • If you are born between the specified dates and live with another pensioner who is aged over 80, you both receive £250
  • If you live in a care home and do not receive certain benefits, you also receive £250.
  • If you were born on or before 25 September 1943, then you receive more - £600 if you live alone or £300 if you live with another eligible pensioner or if you live in a care home and do not receive certain benefits.


What benefits affect your Winter Fuel Allowance?

Pension credit, income-related employment and support allowance income support may mean your payment will be different. For full details visit the gov.uk website.

How do you claim Winter Fuel Allowance?

A photo of an older lady reading a newspaper in her drawing room

Usually, you don’t need to claim Winter Fuel Payment – if you are eligible you will receive it automatically. 

If you haven’t received a Winter Fuel Allowance before, you only need to claim if you do not receive benefits or a state pension, you only get housing benefit, council tax reduction or universal credit, if 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.

If you have received a Winter Fuel Payment before, you only need to claim it since your last payment if you have deferred your state pension, moved to Switzerland or moved to an EEA country.  If this is the case you need to contact the winter fuel payment centre.

How do I contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre?

You call 0800 731 0160 from the UK, or +44 (0) 191 218 7777 from outside the UK and the offices are open from 8 am to 5 pm. Have your NI number handy along with your bank and building society details, your BIC or IBAN numbers if you live in an EEA country or Switzerland and the date you married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate).


Send your claim to the following address if you’re in the UK.

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1LR


Send your claim to the following address if you’re in an EEA country or Switzerland.

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1ZU

Can all pensioners claim Winter Fuel Allowance?

A couple enjoying a walk outdoors in the winter

As a universal benefit, Winter Fuel Allowance isn’t means-tested but is paid to everyone who qualifies through their age provided they meet various eligibility criteria which include:

  • A birthdate on or before 24 September 1957
  • You have lived in the UK for at least one day during the qualifying week of 18 to 24 September 2023

If you didn’t live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if you live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area country and you have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – that is, having lived or worked in the UK or have family in the UK.

Who cannot claim Winter Fuel Allowance?

If any of the following apply, you cannot claim Winter Fuel Allowance:

  • If you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain where the average winter temperatures are higher than the warmest regions of the UK.
  • If you have been in hospital receiving free treatment for more than a year.
  • If you need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds.
  • If you were in prison for the whole week of 18-24 September 2023.
  • If you lived in a care home for the whole time from 26 June to 24 September 2023 and were in receipt of certain allowances.
A couple walking through a forest in the winter
A couple cooking together in their kitchen

Can a husband and wife both claim Winter Fuel Allowance?

If you live alone you receive the full amount of the payment but if you live with a partner or spouse of pension age the individual amount is split between you.

An elderly couple walking down a snowy street
hot chocolate, a blanket and a book
a lady in a warm living room with her dog

I can’t claim Winter Fuel Allowance, what alternatives can I receive?

There are two other benefits that you may be eligible to receive.  These include:

  • Cold Weather Payment: This is different to Winter Fuel Allowance and you receive this if the average temperature in your areas is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days.  You receive £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.  You will receive this if you are on pension credit, income support, income-related and support allowance, support for mortgage interest or universal credit.  After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should receive a payment within 14 working days paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.
  • The Warm Home Discount Scheme: You could get £140 off your electricity bill for the winter under this scheme.  It’s not money paid to you, it’s a one-off discount off your electricity bill between October and March.  You may be able to get discount off your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with gas and electricity.  This is available to those on Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or if you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.

How do I save on my energy bills?

One of the most effective ways to significantly reduce your energy bills is to move from a large, older family home to a brand new, energy-efficient house or apartment. It is possible to save up to 60% on your energy bills by downsizing – or what is being termed ‘rightsizing.’   Take a look at our blog to find out more.

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