If you were born before 25 September 1957 and you have not yet received your Winter Fuel Payment you should claim it now.
Most of the 11 million people entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment get it automatically, without having to claim it. If you got one last year, get state pension, or get other benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) then you should have had a letter in November and the money should have gone into your bank account in December.
But there are people who are old enough to qualify but who the DWP doesn’t know about. They must claim the payment by 31 March or it’s lost forever. The only qualifying condition is your date of birth: if that was 24 September 1957 or earlier, then you’re entitled to the payment.
The biggest group who might qualify but have not been paid are people aged 66 but who haven’t claimed their state pension, either because they’ve deferred their claim or aren’t entitled to the state pension. But they’re still entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment and should claim it now.
The tax-free payment is £500 (£600 for people over 80), but if anyone else in the household qualifies then each of them gets half. If you haven’t had your payment, but your partner or someone you live with has got the full amount, then you won’t get any extra as a household by claiming (but should do it anyway, to keep things in order for next year).
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A very few people of the right age may not be entitled to the payment. They include people who’ve been in hospital for more than a year or were in prison in the week 18–24 September 2023. People in care homes will get the payment at £250 (£300 if over 80) if they do not get a means-tested benefit such as pension credit.
Some people who moved to a European country before 1 January 2021 may be eligible, and should claim if they have not got the payment since they left the UK.
Claim online at gov.uk (search “winter fuel payment”) or call the helpline on 0800 731 0160. The deadline for claims is 31 March.