Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, has highlighted that 131,000 Irish people returned from a lifetime of work in the UK could be eligible for the UK Winter Fuel Payment of up to £300 per year. This follows a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice which stated that the scheme must be extended to people who worked all their lives in the UK but did not avail of the allowance when living there.
“There are approximately 131,000 Irish pensioners who are eligible for the UK’s Winter Fuel Payment and many of them are not aware of this. The tax-free annual payment ranges between £100 and £300 sterling and I would urge pensioners who spent their lives working in the UK to investigate whether they are eligible for this payment (see website link below).
“Up to last year, these monies were only paid to Irish people who essentially transferred their Winter Fuel Payments from the UK to Ireland. However, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2012, the qualifying criteria can now be extended to returned Irish people who worked all their lives in the UK but did not avail of the allowance when living there. This means that eligible Irish people who did not apply for the payment before leaving the UK may now claim while living in Ireland if they meet the qualifying criteria.
“Since 2002, the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions has paid out more than £8.2m (€9.5m) under this scheme to Irish people who had claimed the payment having lived and worked all their lives in the UK, and then returned to Ireland. As a result of last year’s European Court of Justice ruling, many more Irish people can avail of this.
“To be eligible for this fuel payment, the only requirement is that a claimant was born on or before July 5th, 1951 and have a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ with the UK. Having a British Pension is not a strict qualifying factor but of course, it will be of enormous help when applying. Undoubtedly, many Irish people can easily prove they have lived or worked in the UK for most of their working lives.
“I am keen to highlight the significant change in the qualifying criteria given that it’s likely to positively affect many Irish people who have returned from the UK and who are not aware of this payment. Further details on the scheme can be obtained by accessing https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/how-to-claim but claims must be made before the end of this month”, concluded David Stanton TD