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Winter Fuel Allowance For British Pensioners in Bulgaria

The last thing on your mind on a hot Bulgarian summer’s day is an article about winter fuel payments...

The important week to note is 20-26 September 2010, this is known as the qualifying week’.

If you live in an EEA (European Economic Area) country during this week it allows those of you who previously qualified, or received a winter fuel payment in the U.K., the payment whilst living in Bulgaria.

For retired people living in the U.K during the qualifying week, but are planning a move to Bulgaria or any country in the E.U., or if you qualified the previous year then you may still receive it. If you plan to leave the U.K before the qualifying week, then you may still receive a payment, as long as you qualified in a previous year and go to live in an E.U. country.

You will need to contact the Winter Fuel Payments Centre, and give them your new address. It is worth informing of any other pension or benefit changes also. The Payment Centre might need you to complete a claim form, or ask for additional information from you.

If you decided to retire to an E.U country and it is the first time you will claim you may still be able to claim the payment under certain circumstances, look at the information at About Winter Fuel Payments.

This year has saw a rise in the retirement age of women from 60 to 65 years old, so the new changes will gradually be introduced in 2010/2011 when claiming the fuel allowance. New claims if not already need to be in by August 2010 if you are to receive a payment for 2011.

The winter fuel allowance was introduced back in 1997 after the new Labour government was elected. The payment was introduced to pensioners over 60 years old and residents of the U.K. that are claiming state pensions.

Earlier this year reports about the benefit being paid to over 60 thousand Brits abroad had caused a considerable amount of controversy. It is thought to have cost the U.K taxpayer around £14 million. With the British complaining that for those who moved to sunnier climates such as Spain, Portugal and Greece who have a good climate all year, did they need it as much as a pensioner still living in the U.K?

Although for expats that live in Northern Europe including Bulgaria a winter can be far worst than that of the U.K. Newer governments have tried to make cutbacks to the fuel allowances, but it is an E.U law and discrimination to those living outside of the U.K.

This years payments vary from £125 - £400 and depends on individual entitlement. As with any benefit or pension, there are some exceptions to claiming. You are advised to check your own personal circumstances with the

Winter Fuel Payment Hotline.

The address and telephone numbers are as follows:

International Pension Centre,

Winter Fuel Payment Team, Room TC201, Tyne view Park, Newcastle upon Tyne,

NE98, England .U.K

Telephone U.K 0191 2187777