British Expats Face Winter Fuel Payments Axe

photo credit: Mullers via photopin cc

Winter Fuel Payments could be axed for some pensioners living outside of the UK, it has been announced.

British pensioners, who may have previously been entitled to support for heating costs, face losing between £200-£300 a year if they reside in a country with a higher average temperature than that of the UK.

More than 95,000 British pensioners currently live in countries outside of the UK including Spain, France and Portugal. All of which could be affected by an amendment to current legislation being considered by the UK parliament.

A new ‘statutory instrument’ (Winter Fuel Payment (Amendment) Regulations 2014), brought forward by the Conservative Pensions Minister Steve Webb on Monday, is expected to pass through parliament without a challenge from opposition parties.

Steve Webb said he wanted to “ensure that the payment is better targeted on people who live in countries with a cold climate”.

The changes mean British pensioners living outside of the UK may no longer be entitled to Winter Fuel Payments from September 2015.

However, those born on or before July 5 1952 can still make a claim up until 31 March to be eligible for payments next winter.

Labour has pledged to scrap Winter Fuel Payments for “wealthy pensioners” if they win an outright majority in the 2015 general election.