The following information applies from 1 January 2024.
The winter bonus is a lump sum payment normally worth £350 which is intended to help certain people who get income support with the extra costs of heating their home during the winter months.
Who can get a winter bonus?
To qualify for a winter bonus in any year you must:
- be entitled to income support for any day in the week beginning with the first Monday in January
- be entitled to a pensioner premium, disability premium, incapacity premium or disabled child premium or an allowance for a child aged under 5 as part of your income support
- be liable to pay housing costs for where you live, or be treated as if you are liable to pay housing costs for where you live (see below)
'Housing costs' for this purpose means rent, mortgage interest payments, rates, property maintenance and buildings insurance.
You may be treated as if you are liable to pay housing costs for where you live if you are:
• severely disabled
• a carer for a severely disabled person who lives with you
• responsible for paying the heating bills for your home
Also, if you’re under state pension age you must have been entitled to a Christmas bonus from social security in the immediately preceding year.
If you live in a hotel, guest house, other lodgings or residential care you won’t qualify for the winter bonus.
How much is the winter bonus?
The winter bonus is normally worth £350.
But if you share responsibility for the payment of housing costs with another person who is not your partner you will only get a fraction of this amount, according to the number of people you share the responsibility for the payment of housing costs with.
For example, if you share the responsibility for the payment of housing costs with one other person you will get half the amount, so £175.
Do I need to make a claim for a winter bonus?
No. Winter bonuses are paid to qualifying people automatically, usually in January each year.
How will I be paid a winter bonus?
It will be paid to you in the same way as you receive your income support.
If I’m paid a winter bonus will this affect any other benefits I get?
No. The winter bonus doesn’t affect your entitlement to any other benefits.
Will I have to pay tax on a winter bonus?
No. The winter bonus is non-taxable.