Published On: Fri, May 19th, 2017

Winter fuel allowance: Will I still get my winter fuel payment under a Tory government?


Middle-class and wealthy over 65s are the target of the money-saving measure, but it’s feared many poorer people could also see the payment of up to £300 axed.

Critics said means-testing the payment risks additional expensive bureaucracy.

And there are worries that pensioners who will still be entitled to the Winter Fuel Allowance will not claim it, leaving them considerably worse off.

The benefit was introduced around 20 years ago to help older people who were being forced to choose between eating and heating.

At the moment it’s universal and automatically paid to anyone over 64, between November and December each year.

The level at which pensioners could lose the payment under Theresa May has not been confirmed. 

The Conservative manifesto released this week said the party will look at Winter Fuel Payments, because it is paid “regardless of need, giving money to wealthier pensioners when working people on lower incomes do not get similar support”.

Instead the payment will be “focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty”.

However, conservatives have said the cut-off point will be higher than pension credit, which kicks in if weekly income is below £159.35 for single people or £243.25 for couples.

Experts have said the Government must avoid a cliff-edge where someone a pound above the threshold will get nothing, compared to someone a pound below who will still receive it.

Around 10million pensioners could lose out, according to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has called the policy “nasty”.

Former pension minister and director of policy at Royal London Steve Webb, said: “It does seem incredibly bureaucratic to set up a whole new means-test in order to take winter fuel payments away from higher income pensioners.

“We already have a comprehensive network of means-tested benefits with their own rules and regulations and the last thing we need is a new and different means-test.

“Winter Fuel Payments are paid per household so any means-test will presumably have to take account of all of the pensions, investment income, property income and earnings of all household members which will add to the complexity.

“If there is concern about richer households getting payments then they could be made taxable or simply added to the state pension which is already subject to tax.

“There is a danger that a large part of the money raised by restricting winter fuel payments will end up being spent setting up a new bureaucracy to administer the means-test”.



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