Published On: Wed, Oct 9th, 2019

How state pension age changes for women have affected Winter Fuel Payment claims | Personal Finance | Finance

In 2018/19, 11.57 million people received the Winter Fuel Payment, annual National Statistics for Winter Fuel Payment recipient and household statistics show. This represents a decrease of 239,000 payments (2.0 per cent) from the total for the previous winter. The figures, released by the DWP today, show that 8.32 million GB households were entitled to Winter Fuel Payment in 2018/19 – a drop of 154,000 since 2017/18. Introduced in 1997, Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to those eligible, in order to help meet the costs of heating their homes in winter.

It is generally paid between November and December, but can extend to the end of March.

In the past, the qualifying age to receive the payment was 60, but from 2010, this was increased in line with the rises for the state pension age for women.

The number of Winter Fuel Payment recipients has been decreasing slowly over the last eight years, the publication suggests.

It adds that this is due to the rise in the women’s state pension age – which was previously 60 but is now rising to 66 before further increases.

The report states that the general increase in the number of pensioners has been off-set by the “gradual increase in the women’s state pension age” and thus the age of entitlement for Winter Fuel Payments.

As with recipient figures, there was also a decrease in households in receipt of the payment after 2010/11, due to the increase in the women’s state pension age.

The website currently states that an individual qualifies for a Winter Fuel Payment if they were born on or before April 5, 1954, and they lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 16 to 22 September 2019.

This particular week is known as the qualifying week.

If one did not live in the UK during the qualifying then they may still get the payment.

That’s provided they live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country and also have a “genuine and sufficient link to the UK” – such as having lived or worked in the UK, or have family living there. points out that if a person lives in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain, they cannot get the payment.

The Winter Fuel Payment differs to the Cold Weather Payment and the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The Cold Weather Payment may be available if a person is getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.

If the average temperature in one’s area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven days in a row, the payment will be made.

This is £25 for each seven day period of the very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.

READ MORE: State pension age changes for women – how the rise may affect your free bus pass

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