NOTE: As of September 2015, the Winter Fuel Allowance is no longer available to expats living in Spain. Please see update further down this page.
What Is The Winter Fuel Bill Payment?
If you have recently moved to Spain ( or any other country in the EEA ) to live permanently you may be surprised to know that it’s not always 100 degrees in the shade. Although the Spanish Winters are nothing like those you may have previously experienced in the U.K, temperatures can drop considerably during the winter months. This of course means a greater use of your heating and in turn, a rise in the cost of your fuel bills.
But there is some good news. If you were born on or before 5th July 1952 (this date changes each year), you may be eligible for a tax-free winter fuel bill payment of up to ₤300 from the department of work and pensions for 2014/2015.
Please note that to get your payment for 2014/2015, you must have claimed before 31st of March 2015.
Although the payments will not make you an overnight millionaire, they may go a long way in helping to reduce the financial pressures that are all too often associated with the winter months.
Can I Get It If I Live In Spain?
Yes you can. As long as you meet the following criteria, you should be just fine.
- You have reached women’s State Pension age
- You live in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
- You have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK, for example, you have lived or worked in the UK for most of your working life
The qualifying period for the winter fuel allowance is 15th to 21st September 2014. So your payments will be determined on your personal situation during this time.
Who May Not Receive It?
If between 15th and the 21st of September the following applied to you, you may not be able to receive the payment.
- You were in hospital receiving free treatment for more than 52 weeks previously
- You were in prison
- You were subject to immigration control and did not qualify from help from the Department for Work and Pensions
- you were living in a care home or an independent hospital
When Do You Get It?
Most winter fuel payments are made between mid November and December.
How Much Do You Get?
It depends on a number of different factors, for example your age, whether you live alone and whether you are already in receipt of any other benefits. Generally though, the payment is between ₤100 and ₤300 per person. As an added bonus, the payment is also tax-free!
|Circumstance||Born on or before 5th July 1952||Aged 80 or over in qualifying week|
|You qualify and live alone (nobody you live with qualifies)||£200||£300|
|You qualify and get one of the benefits listed below*||£200||£300|
|You live with someone under 80 who also qualifies||£100||£200|
|Your living with someone over the age of 80 who also qualifies||£100||£150|
|You qualify and live with your partner or civil partner and they get one of the benefits listed*||Nil**||Nil**|
|You qualify but live in a care home and don’t get one of the benefits listed*||£100||£150|
* Benefits: Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
** Your partner getting the benefit will get the Winter Fuel Payment on your behalf
How Do I Apply?
If you received the winter fuel bill payment last year, you most likely will not have to make a claim. On the other hand, if you have recently moved to Spain you may need to speak with the department of work and pensions via their helpline.
You can download a copy of the form you will need to complete here. You will then need to print this and then send to the address on the form.
If you found this useful, please share with your friends or with those who may be eligible for this payment.
Remember, you must have made your claim before 31st March 2015 at the latest.
Update 25/11/2015 - Winter Fuel Allowance No Longer Available In Spain
It has previously been suggested that expats living in Spain would eventually lose the winter fuel payment as we covered in a previous article.
Future payments are now dependent on whether the average winter temperature is higher than that of the warmest region of the UK, which is the South-West at 5.2 degrees Celcius. This would mean that UK expats living in Spain no longer qualify for the payment after September 2015.
For further information, please see the pages below.
Image courtesy of the Guardian