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The Winter Fuel Payment is a state benefit paid once per year in the United Kingdom to qualifying individuals. It is intended to cover the additional costs of heating over the winter months. It was first introduced by the Labour government in 1997, and was first announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in his Pre-Budget Statement of that year.[1]

To be eligible for the benefit in a particular year, a person must be born before a specific qualifying date (e.g. 5 April 1954 for payments for the winter 2019-2020), and in a specified week (16-22 September 2019, for 2019-2020) must be resident in the United Kingdom and not in any of the excluded groups (prisoners, people receiving long-term free hospital care, those with certain immigration issues, and those living in care homes and receiving income-related benefits such as pension credit). Thus for the winter of 2019-2020 the benefit was available to those aged 65 by 5 April 2019.[2]

The amount paid is greater for those aged eighty years and older, and is set so that a person living alone (or with people ineligible for the payment) is paid twice as much as a person in a household where more than one person receives the payment.[3]

If the weather is particularly cold, a cold weather payment may also be made.

The Social Fund (Winter Fuel Payment) Regulations 2000 govern the system, under the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992.

In the winter of 2011-12, the benefit cost the UK Government £2,100,000,000 and was paid out to 12,700,000 people.[4]


  1. ^ "Winter Fuel Payments update" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Winter Fuel Payment: Eligibility". 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Winter Fuel Payment: What you'll get". 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  4. ^ David Brindle (3 January 2013). "Means test winter fuel cash for pensioners to fund care, says Lib Dem". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2015.

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