New annual heating payment worth up to £300 for people over State Pension age due this winter

The Scottish Government is set to introduce a new devolved, annual heating payment this winter to help more than one million State Pensioners with higher energy bills during the colder months. Pension Age Winter Heating Payment (PAWHP) will be administered and delivered by Social Security Scotland and replace Winter Fuel Payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Payments will be worth up to £300 and provided on a like-for-like basis as its DWP counterpart. A recent consultation outlined proposals on delivery of the payment, eligibility and proposed payment rates - based on age and household circumstances - much like the qualifying criteria for Winter Fuel Payments.

Under PAWHP, everyone in Scotland who is currently eligible to receive the Winter Fuel Payment will continue to receive the same level of support, but paid by Social Security Scotland and not DwP.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that payments will continue to be non-means tested and tax free. It also said: “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.”

Winter Fuel Payments are usually paid automatically to eligible households between November and January. Proposals for PAWHP will follow the same payment timetable and automation.

Eligibility for WFP is linked to the State Pension age of people living in each household - over 66, or over 80 - and their circumstances - single, couple, both of same age, or mixed ages - during the September qualifying week - this is also expected to stay the same.

Payments

The guidance on GOV.ScOT explains that payment rates will be £100, £150, £200 or £300 for individuals, resulting in a typical household of two generally receiving £200 or £300 in total.

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 eligibility for people living in residential care will follow the same rules as the Winter Fuel Payment. The guidance explains: “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.”

People in residential care who are not in receipt of specific benefits listed in the table are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment of either £100 if they are aged 66 to 79 or £150 if they are aged 80 or over - this will be the same rate for Pension Age Winter Heating Payment.

The guidance explains that this is because they share the accommodation with other people who are also entitled to the payment and are responsible for a share of the heating costs.

It adds: “Those who are living in residential care and receiving one of the specific benefits receive no payment.”

It explains: “This is because historically people living in a care home and in receipt of an income-related benefit have received public funding for their care and accommodation costs including heating through 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 explained that similar to those in residential care, public funding will cover the costs of heating the accommodation and therefore no additional support is required.

Full details on proposals for the new devolved payment can be found on the Scottish Government’s website here.

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