Up to £600 ‘winter support’ for pensioners has started arriving in bank accounts today.
The payments are being made by the Government to about 11.5 million UK pensioners for the second year running.
The payment is made up of a £300 Winter Fuel Payment and a £300 Pensioner Cost of Living payment for eligible households. The money delivers additional support to pensioners, the majority of whom are on fixed incomes and are unable to increase their income through employment.
Most Pensioner Cost of Living Payments are made automatically in November or December and should be received by 26 January 2024.
The money will automatically appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s National Insurance number followed by ‘DWP WFP’ for people in Great Britain, or ‘DFC WFP’ for people in Northern Ireland.
Most Winter Fuel Payments are paid automatically but some people need to make a claim, such as those who qualify but do not receive benefits or the State Pension and have never previously received a Winter Fuel Payment.
The start of the Winter Fuel Payments season comes hot on the heels of the recent £300 Cost of Living payments made by the DWP to more than seven million eligible households across the UK.
This latest payment is the second of up to three Cost of Living Payments being made this financial year. These payments are all tax-free and don’t have any impact on existing benefits.
Do you claim Pension Credit?
Pensioners getting Pension Credit also qualify for this extra support.
Pension Credit tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners or £306.85 for couples.
People receiving any amount of Pension Credit can also get help with other costs including rent (via Housing Benefit), council tax and heating. Those over 75 qualify for a free TV licence.
The average Pension Credit award is now worth £3,900 per year and there is still time for those who are eligible to apply and receive the £300 Cost of Living payment. This is because an eligible claim for Pension Credit can be backdated by three months provided the entitlement conditions are met throughout that time.
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We have delivered on our promise to halve inflation and will continue to support people right across the country, including pensioners who may be facing particular challenges over the colder months.
“As well as up to £600 to help our pensioners stay warm this winter, we’re boosting pensions through the triple lock – increasing the full rate of the new State Pension by over £900 next year.”
How to claim Pensioner Cost of Living payments
The overwhelming majority of pensioners will receive their payment automatically, but some people will need to claim.
If you have not got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you only need to claim if any of the following apply:
- you do not get benefits or the State Pension
- the only benefit you get is Adult Disability Payment from the Scottish Government, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
- you live in Switzerland or an EEA country
If you have got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you only need to claim if since your last payment you have either:
- deferred your State Pension
- moved to Switzerland or an EEA country
Winter Fuel Payments can be claimed by phone or by post. Further information about claiming can be found on the Government website.