More and more British expats claiming winter heating allowance
British expat pensioners claimed received more than £21 million in benefits from the British government last year, including more than £16 million for winter fuel payments.
New figures released by the Department for Work and Payments reveal that a total of £21.7million was paid out to British pensioners living abroad in 2013-14, up from £21.4million in 2012-13. A sizable increase in the number of expats claiming the tax-free winter fuel allowance is deemed to be responsible for this increase, even though many claimants live in countries which are far hotter than the UK.
The recent data shows that £8million was sent to British pensioners in Spain, where the number of British expats claiming the benefit has risen by 44 per cent in just two years to 139,000. Elsewhere, £5million was sent to pensioners living in France, while £1.4 million was sent to those in Cyprus and £579,000 to Portugal.
Fuel payments are intended to help hard-up British pensioners pay for energy bills to heat their homes during winter, no matter whether they live in the UK or not. However, earlier this year the British government revealed that it would look to introduce legislation looking to stop wealthy pensioners, or those living in countries where the average temperature is warmer than the UK, from being able to claim the allowance.
“Winter fuel payments are intended to encourage older people in Britain to keep themselves warm,” explained a spokesperson from the Department of Work and Payments. “It was never intended to be paid in warmer countries.For more information on how to leverage your currency exposure to counter unnecessary risk, contact one of our Forex consultants at Halo Financial for more information at www.halofinancial.com/BEOct14