Thursday, February 09, 2012

Winter fuel allowance

A very thorny subject in our house! Those who by good management or dint of fortune happened to be in England at the right time when they were of pensionable age get it but not Pam and I.

To qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment for the winter of 2011/2012 you must have been born on or before 5 January 1951 and you must have lived in Great Britain or Northern Ireland on any day in the week of 19–25 September 2011*. You can't get a Winter Fuel Payment if you moved to another European Economic Area country or Switzerland and didn't qualify before you moved. But, and here is the sore point, you can continue to get it if you moved after qualifying even if that was in a previous year.

Almost annually, some crackpot MP in Britain questions whether ex-pats in countries like Spain should still get this benefit but nothing comes of it. Clearly, the said MP never lived in Spain during winter! It might not be as cold as it is in Britain but it certainly feels it to us.

So no help forthcoming at Casa El Willo, we have to struggle on manfully paying for our heating without assistance. After Pam reached 60 she would have got £200 per year, now that I am 65, she would get £100 and I would also get £100. That is over 238 Euros per year that would go nicely towards our winter gas bill SIGH!

* Note the word ‘lived’ not ‘visited’. Even if we had been in England during that week, we would not qualify.

PS In case you misunderstood me, I don't hold a grudge against those who continue to get payments now they live in Spain, I just wish we could get them as well.

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