The UK government is offering a cost of living bonus worth hundreds of pounds to help pay sky-rocketing heating bills for expat state pensioners.
Table of contents
- How Much Is The Winter Fuel Payment?
- Claiming The Winter Fuel Payment
- Contact The Winter Fuel Payment Centre
- Winter Fuel Payment FAQ
- Related Information
The Winter Fuel Payment is open to anyone aged 66 or over who can show they meet some strict qualifying conditions.
But fewer British expats than ever are likely to pick up the payment.
To receive the money, they must be eligible for the UK Winter Fuel Payment, which rules out around 1.5 million living in warmer countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Who Gets The Winter Fuel Payment?
If you are an expat wondering if you will receive the money, you must have chalked up your 66th birthday on or before September 25, 2022, and must have lived in the UK for at least one day in the qualifying week – which runs from September 19th until September 25th.
Don’t worry too much about the qualifying week – you might still get a payment if you:
- Live in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
- You have a ‘genuine and sufficient’ link to the UK, such as a family connection or have lived or worked in the UK
British expats living in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain will not receive the payment as the average winter temperature is higher than that recorded in the warmest part of the UK.
That ruling hits the pockets of expats who will get nothing to combat the rising cost of living this winter.
Spain and France are two of the three most popular retirement destinations in Europe and home to more than a million British expats.
A government spokesman explained that the payment was considered unnecessary for expats spending less on heating because they live in countries that are warmer than the UK.
Other expats who don’t qualify include those getting free hospital treatment for more than a year, anyone in prison during the qualifying week, some care home residents and anyone needing permission to enter the UK but cannot claim benefits.
How Much Is The Winter Fuel Payment?
How much expats are paid depends on their age and who they live with during the qualifying week.
Any money paid is tax-free, includes any pensioner cost of living payment and does not impact any means-tested benefits.
|Born between September 26, 1942 and September 25, 1956||Born on or before 25 September 1942|
|You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£500||£600|
|You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£250||£350|
|You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies||£250||£300|
|You qualify, live in a care home and do not get certain benefits||£250||£300|
‘Certain benefits’ refers to Pension Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment & Support Allowance or Income Support.
Anyone claiming these benefits or living with someone who receives one or more will see their winter fuel payment change:
|Born between 26 September 1942 and 25 September 1956||Born on or before 25 September 1942|
|You qualify, get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)||£500||£600|
|You qualify and live with a partner who qualifies, and either of you gets one of the benefits||£500 – only one of you will get the payment||£600 – only one of you will get the payment|
|You qualify and live with someone (not your partner) who qualifies, and either of you gets one of the benefits||£500 – you’ll both get the payment||£600 – you’ll both get the payment|
|You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits||NIl|
Claiming The Winter Fuel Payment
The good news is the payment is automatic if you qualify.
If you have not received the Winter Fuel Payment before, only claim if:
- You live in Switzerland or the EEA and do not paid benefits or the state pension
- You are not paid benefits or the state pension
- You are paid housing benefit, child benefit or Universal Credit
Start a new claim If you were paid the Winter Fuel Payment before but since the last payment have:
- Deferred your state pension
- Moved to Switzerland or an EEA country
Calling by phone
The centre is open 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday
Telephone: 0800 731 0160
Telephone from outside the UK: +44 (0)191 218 7777
You will need to keep this information handy when you call:
- National Insurance number
- Bank or building society details
- BIC and IBAN numbers if you live in an EEA country or Switzerland
- The date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate)
Claiming by post
What you need to send depends on where you live:
In the UK
Complete a Winter Fuel Payment claim form for UK residents and send the document to:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Outside the UK
If you’re a UK national or dual national living in Ireland, you do not need to fill in Form IPCF091.
Send the documents to:
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Can I challenge a decision not to pay?
You can dispute a decision not to pay your Winter Fuel Payment claim by asking for a mandatory reconsideration within a month of the date on the decision letter.
A mandatory reconsideration is a review of your case if you think someone has made a mistake, missed relevant evidence or you disagree with the result.
You can also ask for a review of your case.
Winter Fuel Payment FAQ
When is the qualifying week?
The qualifying week for the Winter Fuel Payment is September 19 until September 25.
Can expats outside Europe claim Winter Fuel Payment?
No. The payment is for expats living in the EEA, Switzerland and the UK with the exception of Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain. These countries are excluded because the average winter temperature is warmer than in the UK.
Can I appeal a decision not to pay the Winter Fuel Payment?
Yes. If you dispute the decision not to pay or you feel you should receive more, you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration. Check the decision letter as the appeal must go in within 30 days of the date on the letter.
Is the extra money a permanent payment?
No. The extra Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off payment aimed at helping with the current cost of energy bills.
Do I get the Winter Fuel Payment if I work?
Yes, the Winter Fuel Payment is not a means-tested benefit and is paid whether an expat is employed or not.
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