30/01/2004

Winter weather triggers cold weather payments

Cold Weather Payments are to be paid to approximately 36,000 people in the Mid Ulster and South Eastern regions of Northern Ireland.

The announcement by the Department for Social Development today follows the recent low temperatures recorded over the last week in certain areas of the province.

Payment is based on temperature information provided by the Meteorological Office at Katesbridge that forecast sub-zero temperatures over a seven-day period from 26 January to 1 February 2004.

The areas include Hillsborough, Lisburn, Downpatrick, Banbridge, Newcastle, Armagh, Portadown, and Dungannon. The Department said that the following postal areas of Northern Ireland were affected by the cold spell: BT24 - 28, BT30 - 35, BT60 - 68 and BT71.

People in the areas affected do not need to make a claim for the £8.50 payment as it will be paid automatically by the Social Security Agency to people on Income Support and Income-based JobSeeker's Allowance who are in the qualifying groups.

The Cold Weather Payments will be made during the week commencing 2 February 2004 and are additional to the Winter Fuel Payments of £200 and over, made to people aged over 60 years.

The payments are triggered when the daily temperature is, or is forecast to be, at or below 0°C, for seven consecutive days.

The temperature measurements for Northern Ireland are made by five meteorological stations located at Aldergrove, Ballykelly, Castlederg, Katesbridge, and Enniskillen.

(SP)

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