New annual heating payment worth up to £300 due this winter

Mother With Son Trying To Keep Warm By Radiator At Home During Cost Of Living Energy Crisis
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


The Scottish Government is set to roll out a new yearly heating benefit this winter. Aimed at assisting over a million State Pension recipients with the increased energy costs during the chillier season, the forthcoming Pension Age Winter Heating Payment (PAWHP) will be managed by Social Security Scotland, taking over from the current Winter Fuel Payments distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Valued at up to £300, the payments are designed to mirror those of the DWP's scheme.

A recent public consultation has shed light on the proposed operational details, including eligibility criteria and payment amounts, which are expected to align closely with those used for Winter Fuel Payments. Under the new PAWHP system, all individuals in Scotland currently entitled to Winter Fuel Payments will maintain their existing level of financial support, albeit through Social Security Scotland instead of the DWP.

The Scottish Government has assured that these payments will remain non-means tested and exempt from tax. Officials have stated: "Based on estimations of eligible claimants, PAWHP will be an investment of around £180 million in the first year (2024/25), providing support to over one million eligible people."

Traditionally, Winter Fuel Payments are automatically issued to qualifying households between November and January. The PAWHP is set to adhere to a similar schedule for automatic payments, reports the Daily Record.

Eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) is determined by the age of individuals in each household, specifically if they are over 66 or over 80, as well as their living circumstances - whether single, a couple, both of the same age, or of mixed ages during the qualifying week in September, which is expected to remain unchanged.

Payments

The guidance on GOV. SCOT outlines that payment rates will be £100, £150, £200, or £300 for eligible individuals. A typical household of two will usually receive a total of £200 or £300.

It states: "We intend to maintain the current values of payments. That means, generally, that a typical household where the oldest person is under 80 will receive £200 and a household containing a person aged 80 or over will receive £300. The exception to this is where someone is in residential care."

Household eligibility criteria for payment rates

Household circumstances

Aged 66-79

Aged 80+

You qualify and live alone (or live with someone who does not qualify for PAWHP)

£200

£300

You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies

£100

£200

You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies

£100

£150

You qualify, live in residential care and you do not receive certain benefits (e.g. Pension Credit)

£100

£150

You qualify, live in residential care and you do receive certain benefits (e.g. Pension Credit)

£0

£0

Residential Care

The section on Residential Care provides further details regarding eligibility and payment rates for those in such living arrangements. The eligibility for individuals residing in care homes will follow the same guidelines as the Winter Fuel Payment. The rules state: "People who are living in residential care during the qualifying week, and the period of 12 weeks immediately before the qualifying week, do not qualify for the 'full' rate of Winter Fuel Payment."

Those in residential care who aren't receiving specific benefits listed in the table are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment of either £100 if they're aged between 66 and 79 or £150 if they're 80 or over - this will be the same rate for Pension Age Winter Heating Payment. The reason behind this is that these individuals share accommodation with others who are also eligible for the payment and are responsible for a portion of the heating costs.

It further states: "Those who are living in residential care and receiving one of the specific benefits receive no payment." This is because historically, those living in a care home and receiving an income-related benefit have had their care, accommodation and heating costs covered by public funding from the local authority.

"As this is still the case for the vast majority of people receiving Pension Credit, the WFP is not payable."

Other exclusions

The proposals also include other exclusions which currently apply to the Winter Fuel Payment that will also apply for PAWHP and would result in no award.

This includes:

  • If the individual has been in hospital for more than a year

  • If the individual is in prison throughout the qualifying week

The Scottish Government has clarified that, as with residential care, public funding will cover the costs of heating the accommodation, negating the need for additional support. More information on the proposals for the new devolved payment can be found on the Scottish Government's website.