Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment. But can Britons living in Italy really claim this benefit to cover the cost of heating their Italian homes?

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?
Can Brits living abroad still claim the winter fuel payment? Photo: he gong / Unsplash

Average winter temperatures vary across Italy, but those who move here after only experiencing scorching summers are often surprised to discover just how cold the country can get.

Even the hardiest of arrivals from colder climes will no doubt have to switch on the radiators or fire up the woodburner between November and February – despite the surging costs.

READ ALSO: Not just gas: How the cost of heating has soared in Italy

As the cost of living crisis bites, some UK nationals who reside in Italy may wonder if they could still be eligible for winter fuel financial support from the UK.

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The UK’s winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Those eligible must have been born before September 26th 1956, according to the UK government’s website.

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £250 and £600.

I’m a UK national living in Italy. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

Yes, if you meet the following criteria according to the British government’s website:

“If you do not live in the UK, you’re only eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • you moved to an eligible country before 1 January 2021
  • you were born before 26 September 1956
  • you have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK”

Unlike Spain and France, which the British government has deemed to be too warm on average, Italy is on the list of eligible countries along with Austria, Germany, Sweden, and others.

Find out how to claim the fuel payment on the UK government’s website here.

According to the UK government, during winter the average temperature is between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius in the UK.

READ ALSO: At what time of day is electricity cheapest in Italy?

The Italian government divides the country into six ‘climate zones’ which determine when and for how long residents should have their heating switched on each winter.

According to the government’s classification, the coldest parts of the country are the northern provinces of Cuneo, Trento, and Belluno, where no heating restrictions apply.

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LATEST: UK confirms Italian driving licence exchanges start on Thursday

The British Embassy in Rome has announced that UK licence holders living in Italy can begin the process of swapping their licences without taking a test from Thursday, March 30th.

LATEST: UK confirms Italian driving licence exchanges start on Thursday

The British Embassy in Rome gave a long-awaited update on Monday about a deal allowing British nationals resident in Italy who hold UK-issued driving licences to swap for an Italian licence without retaking their test.

“We are very pleased to announce that the UK-IT Agreement on the exchange of driving licences for British citizens and UK licence holders living in Italy will enter into force on 30 March 2023,” the Embassy wrote in Facebook and Twitter posts.

“Once this happens, you will be able to start booking an appointment to exchange your licence with your local Motorizzazione Office.”

A long-negotiated UK-Italian deal reached at the end of December 2022 will allow holders of UK driving licences to obtain an Italian licence without retaking their test – as many feared would be the case following Brexit.

Details of the exchange process and the date from which it would be possible to apply were not immediately available after the agreement was signed in December.

READ ALSO: Who needs to exchange their driving licence for an Italian one?

On Monday, the Embassy said: “In order to exchange your licence, you will need to bring the right documentation” to an exchange appointment at the motorizzazione office.

The Embassy shared the list of documents on the Italian Transport Ministry’s website, which you can find here.

“Please also check directly with your local Motorizzazione Office for further enquiries relating to your exchange,” the Embassy said.

A list of contact details for Italy’s regional motorizzazione offices can be found here.

Only a handful of countries have agreements with Italy that allow a straight swap of driving licences. 

Most countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, do not have such deals in place meaning holders of licences from those countries must retake their driving test in Italian in order to get an Italian licence – a requirement after one year of Italian residency.

For more details on how the UK-Italy agreement will apply to your right to drive in Italy, see the British Government’s Living in Italy website here.

Find The Local’s latest Brexit-related news updates for UK nationals in Italy here.