MILLIONS can claim up to £600 as part of the winter fuel payment.
The cash – which is dished out to the elderly – has been boosted to give those on low income between £250 to £600.
The free cash was announced by the government in May as part of a raft of supportive measures for vulnerable households.
Pensioners who normally get the winter fuel payment qualify for the help.
But what you get will depend on your personal circumstances though, such as your age and income.
This year, eligible people are receiving £300 more than normal.
Here's everything you need to know about the winter fuel payment, formerly known as the winter fuel allowance.
What is the winter fuel payment?
The winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free benefit designed to help with heating costs through the colder months.
Most people who are eligible get it automatically like if you receive the state pension or benefits.
However, you won't necessarily qualify just because you claim housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or Universal Credit.
If you do meet the criteria but don't automatically get the winter fuel payment, you will have to apply on the government's website.
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The deadline for claiming the winter fuel payment for this winter, 2022 to 2023, is March 31, 2023.
You'll qualify for a winter fuel payment if both of the following apply:
- you were born on or before September 25, 1956
- you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19 to 25, 2022 in what is known as the "qualifying week"
If you did 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 EEA country
- you have a "genuine and sufficient" link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK and having a family in the UK
But there are exclusions – you can’t get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain.
This is because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.
You will also not qualify if you:
- are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
- need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you can not claim public funds
- were in prison for the whole "qualifying week"
- lived in a care home for the whole time between 28 June to 26 September 2021, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
You may still be able to get the postcode-based cold weather payment or apply for the warm home discount scheme, even if you don't qualify for winter fuel payment.
How much can I get?
Because of the £300 cost of living payment top up, what you can get this year has changed.
For example, if you were born on or before September 25, 1942 and live alone – or with people who are not eligible for the payment – you can claim £600.
If you were born between September 26, 1942 and September 25, 1956 and you live alone you receive £500.
There are more details on exactly who earns what amount on the government website.
Your payment may also be different if you or your partner receives one of the following benefits:
- pension credit
- income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
- income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- income support
The good news is that any money you get will not affect your other benefits.
All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, such as a bank account.
When will I get the payment?
Automatic payments are usually made between November and December, and you should have received yours by January 13, 2023 at the latest.
If you haven't got your payment by then, you need to call the office that pays your benefits.
Those details can be found in the letters they have sent you.
And if you're found to be ineligible for the winter fuel payment but want to challenge that decision, there's a government form for that, too.
If you're eligible, make sure you apply for support funding like the Cold Weather Payments and the Warm Home Discount.
Plus, you might be eligible for help via the Household Support Fund.
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