I think you have to apply for it. Not sure as I haven't researched enough yet. I know you don't mean to be pompous but your posting does grate a bit. Jealousy ,really ,as I should have done better at school.
Possibly, like child bennefit, the winter fuel grant should be means tested? Either you will need it or you could otherwise Bank it for future use. At least you were honest enough to state that the fuel grant was not needed for yourself.
Personally if you are between the ages of 60-65 and still in full time employment I don't think that it should be available to you. If in poor health or unemployed by all means it should be available. I am speaking from my own situation as I was still working and actually felt guilty about receiving the winter fuel payment when I reached 60yrs. I did not need it as I could afford to pay my own heating bills. Now I am getting on a bit We look forward to this heating allowance but I still think you should be 65 or over to get it. I will add people on low incomes should also be eligible to receive it. Not sure what your thoughts are but those are mine.