Winter Fuel Payment (WFP)

Anyone born on or before 5 January 1953 – for winter 2015/16 – should receive a Winter Fuel Payment from the Government. The qualifying age for WFP will rise in line with the state retirement age for women.
Payment is usually made automatically to those in receipt of State Pension and some other benefits, but some (those receiving only housing benefit, council tax reduction or child benefit for example) may have to make a claim.
The payment is £100 - £300 per household depending on circumstances.  You can’t claim Winter Fuel Payment for 2015 to 2016 after 31 March 2016.
You need to claim Winter Fuel Payment if you’ve not had it before and either of the following apply:
  • you don’t get benefits or a State Pension
  • you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit
If you’ve claimed before: You should get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically from the organisation that pays your benefits. Contact them if you have any questions or there’s a change in your circumstances. You can find their details on any letters they’ve sent you.
Claim first time by phone:
Telephone: 03459 15 15 15  Textphone: 0345 606 0285  
Winter Fuel Payment Centre Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
You’ll need to know:
  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank or building society details
  • the date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate)
Payments can’t be made into a National Savings and Investments (NS&I) account unless you already get other benefits paid into the account.  You’ll also need to say whether during the qualifying week of 21 to 27 September 2015 you’ll be:
  • in hospital getting free in-patient treatment
  • in a residential care home
  • in custody serving a court sentence

Warm Home Discount

What you'll get For winter 2015 to 2016, you could get £140 off your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money isn’t paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between September and March. The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

Not everyone gets the discount - check if you qualify. Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters - You can also qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, eg a voucher you can use to top up your meter.

Eligibility You qualify for the discount if on 12 July 2015 all of the following apply:

  • Your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
  • Your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill
  • You were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)

If you don’t qualify You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:

  • You’re on a low income
  • You get certain means-tested benefits
  • Check with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.

How to claim

  • If you qualify, you’ll get a letter this autumn or winter telling you either -
  • You don’t have to apply - you’ll get the discount automatically
  • To apply by 29 January 2016 - the letter will tell you why and how
  • You’ll receive your letter by 24 December at the latest.

If you don’t get a letter Contact the Warm Home Discount Team if you don’t get a letter but believe you qualify.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Telephone: 0345 603 9439 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

If you don’t qualify for the discount

You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you don’t qualify because you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

Cold Weather Payment

Payments are made when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.  The 2015 to 2016 Cold Weather Payment scheme starts on 1 November 2015. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment in November 2015.

What you'll get

You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.  After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days. It’s paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.  Cold Weather Payments don’t affect your other benefits.

Eligibility: You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance: You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and have any of the following:

  • a disability or pensioner premium
  • a child who is disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • a child under 5 living with you

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get income-related ESA and have any of the following:

  • the support or work-related component of ESA
  • a severe or enhanced disability premium
  • a pensioner premium
  • a child who is disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • a child under 5 living with you

Universal Credit: You’ll usually get Cold Weather Payments if you get Universal Credit, you’re not employed or self employed and one of the following apply:

  • you get a limited capability for work element (with/without a work-related activity element)
  • you get the disabled child element in your claim
  • you have a child under 5 living with you
  • You’ll also be eligible if you have a disabled child element in your claim, whether you are employed or not.

How to claim: You don’t need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically.

If you have a child under 5 living with you: If you get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance you’ll need to tell Jobcentre Plus if:

  • you’ve had a baby
  • a child under 5 has come to live with you

Otherwise, you won’t automatically receive any Cold Weather Payments you should get.

If you don’t receive your Cold Weather Payment: Tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office if you think you should have received a Cold Weather Payment but you haven’t.

The difference between Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments

Winter Fuel Payments are:

  • yearly one-off payments to help eligible people pay for their heating in the winter
  • not linked to temperature

This is different to Cold Weather Payments which are paid for each 7-day period of very cold weather in your area.

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