21/09/2005

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.

(SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 October 2013
Applicants Encouraged For Winter Fuel Payment
The Department for Social Development is urging people born on or before 5 January 1952, who have not received a Winter Fuel Payment before, to pick up the phone and check if they are eligible.
20 September 2011
Gas Price Hike 'Fuels Winter Woes'
The gas supplier, Firmus Energy has ended its previously announced summer price freeze and is set to increase tariffs by over 35% from 1 October - fuelling fears over 'fuel poverty' among the most needy. It has around 8,500 customers in the greater Belfast area - compared to competitor, Phoenix Gas - that has more than 130,000.
02 December 2002
Claimants warned to apply early for winter fuel payments
The government has warned people who believe are eligible for Winter Fuel Payments to contact the government's helpline to ensure they can benefit from the scheme. Anyone reaching age 60 or over during the week 16-22 September 2002 will usually be entitled to a Winter Fuel Payments of £200.
13 March 2002
Lodge claims for Winter Fuel Payments now say NICAB
With the last day for making a claim for a Winter Fuel Payment this year set as March 31, the Northern Ireland Citizens Advice Bureau (NICAB) has urged people to lodge their claims in good time. This year’s payment is £200 and is made to people aged 60 or over providing they are eligible.
11 January 2022
Communities Minister Urged To Take Control Of Emergency Fuel Scheme
The Communities Minister must take control of the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme rather than passing the buck to a charity, DUP MLA Paula Bradley has said. Making the call, the North Belfast MLA said: "It will come as little surprise to anyone that there has been huge demand for the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme.