Many people seriously dread turning older, so the arrival of their sixty-first birthday might not be good news as far as they are concerned. Despite this fact, there are some definite advantages to being part of the over sixties crowd. One of these benefits has to do with heating allowances in the United Kingdom.
Technically there are two heating allowance programs for people in the United Kingdom who are sixty-one or older. The first program is called Winter Fuel Allowance. The program provides money to older citizens for the purpose of heating their home. The important part is that the assistance money is tax-free, so it does not hurt you financially to take the money. Once you have been approved for the program the government then calculates how much of an allowance you will receive. The best part is that the government just sends you the money but does not follow-up to see what you do with it. Technically you could spend the money on whatever you wish if your heating costs are already covered without a problem Not everyone qualifies for the program or for the same amount of assistance, so read on for details about how you can figure out if you qualify and how much the assistance might total.
The maximum amount anyone can qualify for under the Winter Fuel Allowance is an extra three hundred pounds. The exact amount you will qualify for really depends on your life and living situation. Individuals who are over the age of eighty and live alone or are the only person in the residence who is sixty-one or older should qualify for the full payment of three hundred pounds. People under the age of eighty who were born before the fifth of July in 1951 are likely eligible for a payment of two hundred pounds. In situations where two people living in the same residence qualify for the same amount of assistance, the payment will be split in half between those two people. So a person who, living alone, would receive a payout of three hundred pounds would be paid one hundred and fifty pounds, the same amount the other person living in the same residence would be paid.
There are some reasons someone would not qualify for any money under the Winter Fuel Allowance. Anyone age sixty one or older who is living in an independent hospital or care home and also receives other government benefits like a Jobseekers Allowance, Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance does not qualify for any assistance under the Winter Fuel Allowance. People who living a car home or independent hospital but that do not receive other government assistance do qualify for money under the Winter Fuel Allowance, but the amount due will be half what it would be if they were living on their own.
There are yet other stipulations on qualifying for the fuel allowance. You must normally live in the United Kingdom for one week each September as specified by the government. Exceptions to this rule include if you were imprisoned during the specified week in September, received free medical treatment in a hospital for more than fifty-two weeks of the previous year or you had to be granted permission to enter the country and you could not qualify for assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions. If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom but live in another European Economic Area country you might still qualify for the heating allowance, but you must fill out a special form and apply for the allowance to find out if you qualify for anything.
In addition, if you live with a partner who receives Pension Credit or Jobseekers Allowance, you will need to rely on your partner to receive the Winter Fuel Allowance on your behalf. If you receive a State Pension or Pension Credit you are eligible to receive an additional ten pounds at Christmas time as a bonus, so be sure to file for that additional money on your allowance.
The second heating allowance program available for over sixties in the United Kingdom is called Cold Weather Payment. This program only pays to qualified recipients when the weather becomes quite cold during the winter months. Because of its purpose, the program only runs from the first of November until the thirty first of March.
How the program functions is quite simple. For every day during the programs duration that the forecasted weather in your area predicts an average temperature of zero degrees Celsius or below, a payment of twenty five pounds will be dispersed to cover any additional heating costs. The same payout occurs even if the forecast did not predict an average temperature at or below zero degrees Celsius but the recorded temperatures for the day result in such an average. The payments are deposited to your account automatically, meaning once you have been accepted to the program you do not need to file additional paperwork for each day you qualify for a payment. Mistakes can happen, so if youve been approved for the program and believe you were not given a payout due to you, you need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus for assistance.
You must fill out an application for the Cold Weather Payment program to see if you qualify. In general, receiving pension credit indicates that you are likely a good candidate to be accepted into the Cold Weather Payment program. You also will not be taxed on any assistance money you receive form the Cold Weather Payment program.
Anyone who is intimidated by the application process to either heating allowance program can reach out for help. The United Kingdom Age UK works with people age sixty one or older to ensure they claim all of the government benefits due to them. The organization has a booklet on its website that explains how to apply for various government assistance programs. If needed, you can even call Age UK if you have questions about whether you qualify for a payment or need further help with filling out your paperwork.
Sam Jones reviews the energy market and has recently discovered Energy Savings with uSwitch dual fuel where the winter fuel allowance advice pages give lots of detailed information for people struggling with energy bills
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