17/09/2003

Over 60's urged to claim £200 winter fuel payment

Social Development Minister, John Spellar, has urged Northern Ireland's over 60’s to ensure they claim their Winter Fuel Payment in time for Christmas.

Last year, more than 250,000 people benefited from the £200 payment in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said: “Most people who qualify for this money will receive it automatically. However, for those who have to claim, the application has to be made before 19 September 2003 to make sure they receive their money before Christmas.

“Also for the first time ever, people who will be 80 or over on or before 21 September and qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment may get an extra payment of up to £100. If you qualify for this extra money you’ll get it automatically, you do not need to make a claim.

“By working together and with a little planning, we can help the elderly have a warmer winter this year. These payments along with the Warm Homes Scheme and Cold Weather Payments, go a long way to provide warmth and comfort to a number of the most vulnerable people in society.”

Backdated payments can also be claimed for the year's 97/98, 98/99 and 99/00 by contacting a local Social Security Office.

A copy of the claim form can be received by phoning the Winter Fuel Payment help-line on 08459 151515 or online at www.ssani.gov.uk

(MB)

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