Winter Fuel Payments

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Winter Fuel Payments for people living outside the UK but within the European Economic Area or in Switzerland

Who can receive a Winter Fuel Payment outside the UK?
Who can receive a Winter Fuel Payment outside the UK this year?
What will happen if I leave the UK after the qualifying week in September?
What will happen if I leave the UK before the qualifying week in September?
What will happen if I leave the UK during the qualifying week in September?
What should I do if I am planning to move abroad?
I have lived outside the UK for more than a year. I was claiming a benefit or state pension before I left the UK. Can I claim payments for past years?
I have lived outside the UK for more than a year. I was not claiming a benefit or state pension before I left the UK. Can I claim payments for past years?
What were the qualifying dates for past years? For this year?
How much was the Winter Fuel Payment in past years?
How do I claim for past years?
Will I need to complete claim forms every year?
When do I need to claim?
Where can I get a copy of the claim form I need?
How do I contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre?
Definitions

Who can receive Winter Fuel Payments outside the UK?

If you have received, or would have been eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment in the UK, you may be able to continue to receive your Winter Fuel Payment if you move to another European Economic Area (EEA) country or to Switzerland. There are some exceptions to this which are set out below.

The qualifying week this year is the 20 to 26 September 2004. Payments are normally made from November onwards over a period of several weeks. Winter Fuel Payments are usually paid automatically to people receiving a UK state pension. If you do not receive a UK state pension you will usually need to fill in a claim form for the first year your claim a Winter Fuel Payment outside the UK. If your circumstances change again, you should notify us.


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Who can receive Winter Fuel Payments outside the UK for winter 2004/05?

You may be able to receive a Winter Fuel Payment outside the UK this year if you have previously qualified for a payment in the UK and during the qualifying week of 20 to 26 September 2004 you:

  • live in another EEA country. Your nationality does not affect your entitlement unless you live in:
- Denmark, where you must be an EEA or Swiss national
- Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland where you must be an EEA national
  • live in Switzerland and are:
- a Swiss national or
- a national of a country that was an EU member state before 1 May 2004
  • are not in custody under sentence.

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What will happen if I leave the UK after the qualifying week in September?

If you leave the UK after the qualifying week you should receive your Winter Fuel Payment as normal, as you were a UK resident during the qualifying week. It is important that you let us know when you change your address so that we can update your records. If you are receiving a benefit or state pension you will also need to tell the office that deals with your payments that you are leaving the UK.


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What will happen if I leave the UK before the qualifying week in September?

If you leave the UK before the qualifying week you may still be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment provided you qualified in a previous year and if you have moved to live in another EEA country or Switzerland. Check your entitlement at Who can receive a Winter Fuel Payment outside the UK?


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What will happen if I leave the UK during the qualifying week in September?

If you normally live in the UK and move to live outside the UK during the qualifying week you will be treated as living in the UK for this year’s payment.


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What should I do if I am planning to move abroad?

If you are moving abroad remember to contact:

  • the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to let them know your new address
  • any benefit or pension paying offices you deal with to tell them that you are moving outside the UK.

We may need to write to you for more information and in some circumstances we may need to ask you to complete a claim form.

If you have not received or applied for a Winter Fuel Payment before, we will first have to decide if you were entitled to a payment as a UK resident before you can be entitled to a payment outside the UK. You can contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre for advice.


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I have lived outside the UK for more than a year. I was claiming a benefit or state pension before I left the UK. Can I claim payments for past years?

If you were receiving a pension or benefit before you left the UK you may be eligible for backdated payments for past years. You need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre for advice about your eligibility. Winter Fuel Payments became available at different times in different countries, and payment sometimes depends on other factors including your nationality. A quick guide is:

From 1998/99

Payments became available with effect from the winter of 1998/1999 to eligible EEA nationals living in EEA countries who had previously qualified for a payment in the UK.

From 2000/01

  • People in custody under sentence during the qualifying week were no longer entitled to a payment.

From 2002/03

  • Payments were extended to Switzerland for EU and Swiss nationals only.
  • Swiss nationals could receive payments in EU countries.

From 2003/04

  • Payments were extended to all non-EEA nationals in all EU countries, except Denmark.

From 2004/05

  • Payments are available in the 10 new EU states to all nationals.
  • Payments do not extend to nationals of the 10 new EU states living in Switzerland.

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I have lived outside the UK for more than a year. I was not claiming a benefit or state pension before I left the UK. Can I claim payments for past years?

If you were not claiming a benefit before you moved, then the following applies to you:

1998/99 and 1999/2000

  • Winter Fuel Payments are available to eligible EEA nationals living in EEA countries with effect from 1998/99 who had previously qualified for a payment in the UK. No closing date applies for claims for the years 1998/99 and 1999/2000, which means that retrospective claims can still be made.

2000/01 to 2004/05

  • Closing dates for claims applied. Payments cannot be backdated for these years.

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What were the qualifying dates for past years?

Winter of Qualifying week
1997/98 Payments were to UK residents only
1998/99 9 to15 November 1998
1999/2000 20 to 26 September 1999
2000/01 18 to 24 September 2000
2001/02 17 to 23 September 2001
2002/03 16 to 22 September 2002
2003/04 15 to 21 September 2003
2004/05 20 to 26 September 2004

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How much was the Winter Fuel Payment in past years?

If in your household those eligible were:

Year You You and another person
1997/98 UK only UK only
1998/99 £20 £10 each
1999/2000 £100 £50 each
2000/01 £200 £100 each
2001/02 £200 £100 each
2002/03 £200 £100 each
2003/04 £200 £100 each
2004/05 £200 £100 each

From 2003/04 if you are aged 80 or over and in your household the eligible people were:

Year You You and someone
aged 60 to 79
You and someone
aged 80+
2003/04 £300 £200 you/£100 others £150 each
2004/05 £300 £200 you/£100 others £150 each

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How do I claim for past years?

You will need to complete a claim form for EEA and Swiss residents (WFP2) for the past years. If you have not previously claimed or received a payment as a UK resident you will also need to complete a WFP1R form for UK residents. This is so that we can assess whether you were entitled to a payment before you left the UK.


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Will I need to complete claim forms every year?

Once you qualify for a payment, and we have up-to-date information about where you live, payments for future years are sent automatically. You must remember to tell us if your circumstances change.


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When do I need to claim?

The deadline for claims for winter 2004/05 was 30 March 2005 for this winter’s payment. If you are claiming for past years you can send your completed WFP2 EEA and if required WFP1R, at any time. However, the sooner we receive it the quicker we will be able to tell you whether you qualify for a payment.


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Where can I get a copy of the claim form I need?

You can download and print copies of the claim forms from The Pension Service website. Alternatively, you can write to, fax or phone the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to request a claim form.


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How do I contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre?

The Winter Fuel Payment Centre in Cardiff is responsible for making Winter Fuel Payments to people who live outside the UK and can be contacted at:

Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Southgate House
Cardiff Central
Royal Mail
CARDIFF
CF91 1ZH
UK

Fax: on +44 29 2042 8676 (029 2042 8676 in the UK)

Phone: on +44 29 2042 8635 (029 2042 8635 in the UK)

The lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm (UK time).


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Definitions

United Kingdom (UK)

The UK comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It does not include the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

European Union (EU)

The EU comprises Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On 1 May 2004, a further 10 countries joined the EU: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA comprises all 25 EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.


Gibraltar

For Winter Fuel Payment purposes Gibraltar is treated as a member of the EU.

Switzerland

Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, but signed an agreement with the EU countries in June 2002 to apply EU rules on social security. The agreement does not currently extend to the 10 countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004.


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The Pension Service is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. It has been set up to improve the service you receive, whether you are already a pensioner or are planning for your retirement.

Find out more about The Pension Service
Contact The Pension Service


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