Over 60's urged not to miss out on fuel payments

People aged 60 or more who have not received a Winter Fuel Payment before, have been advised to check if they are eligible.

As this year’s qualifying week for inclusion approaches, Social Development Minister David Hanson should check their eligibility as those people aged over 60 can qualify for £200 per household, rising to £300 for those over 80 years.

The Minister said: “Most people receive this important benefit automatically if they already receive a State Pension or other Social Security Benefit. But we are concerned that there are others, perhaps those who are working, who do not realise that they are eligible. We would encourage them to contact the Social Security Agency to check if they can claim.

“Winter Fuel Payment was introduced in 1997 to help people towards their fuel costs. It has increased from £20 to its present £200 since it began; well above the rate of inflation. There is no doubt that some older people have difficulty budgeting for the cost of fuel. This payment will make a difference and I say to them – don’t miss out.”

Fuel costs have recently risen sharply as crude oil reached record levels over the summer, and gas prices have also climbed steeply in recent weeks.

The winter fuel payment is available to people who reach the qualifying ages during the qualifying week, 19 - 25 September 2005.

Claim forms may be obtained by ringing 08459 151515.

The deadline for claims to cover the coming winter is 30 March 2006.


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