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DWP urged to scrap Winter Fuel Payment ‘qualifying date’ to help more elderly

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently updated online guidance for millions of older people who qualify for a £300 one-off ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’ on top of their Winter Fuel Payment later this year

In order to help people over State Pensions age manage energy bills this winter, more than 8 million eligible households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment across the UK will receive an extra £300 from November, 2022.

The Winter Fuel Payment, including the extra Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, is not taxable and does not affect eligibility for other benefits. However, the full amount that a person will get for winter 2022 to 2023 depends on their circumstances.

The main criteria for the benefit is that a person needs to have reached State Pension age during the qualifying week in the Autumn. For winter 2022/23, this is the 19th to the 25th of September.

This is something SNP MP, Martyn Day, recently asked the DWP to reconsider and urged Therese Coffey to “make it her policy to remove the qualifying date for the Winter Fuel Payment to ensure that all those in receipt of the State Pension will be eligible to receive this payment by the end of the calendar year”.

However, in a written response, DWP Minister Guy Opperman said that there are “no plans to change the qualifying criteria for Winter Fuel Payments”.

He explained: “The policy since the introduction of the Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment Amendment Regulations 1999 has been the same under all Governments: Labour; the Coalition; and Conservative.

“It has always been the aim to make Winter Fuel Payments before Christmas. Therefore, having a September qualifying week allows the Department the time to make the required checks on entitlement, calculate the payment an individual is entitled to, issue the notifications and start to make the payments; a process which begins in November.”

He highlighted how the DWP makes over 11 million Winter Fuel Payments every year and said the majority – over 99% – are paid automatically without the need to claim before Christmas.

However, he did add that a “small number of pensioners need to claim the Winter Fuel Payment and have until 31 March 2023 to do so”.

Below is everything you need to know about the £300 being added to Winter Fuel Payment rates 2022/23.

Winter Fuel Payment rates 2022/23

The amounts shown in all examples are the total payments.

You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £600

You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £250
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £350

You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £250
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £300

You qualify and live with a partner who qualifies, and either of you gets certain benefits

Benefits – Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500 – only one of you will get the payment
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £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 certain benefits

Benefits – Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500 – you will both get the payment
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £600 – you will both get the payment

You qualify, live in a care home and do not get certain benefits

Benefits – Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £250
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £300

Winter fuel payments if you get certain benefits

Your payment may be different if you or your partner gets one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support

You qualify, get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify)

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £600

You qualify and live with a partner who qualifies, and either of you gets one of the benefits

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500 – only one of you will get the payment
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £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

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: £500 – you will both get the payment
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: £600 – you will both get the payment

You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits

  • Born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956: Nil
  • Born on or before September 25, 1942: Nil

When you will get paid

Most payments will be made automatically in November or December.

There are certain circumstances where an individual above State Pension age does not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment which can be found on GOV.UK, here.

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