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STAY WARMER THIS WINTER

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The government is encouraging older people who have not previously received a ...
The government is encouraging older people who have not previously received a

Winter Fuel Payment to apply for help towards heating their homes

this winter. An advertising campaign started in the press this week.

New applications received by 24 September will get their payment in

time for Christmas.

Around 11 million people will automatically receive their Winter Fuel

Payment this year, worth at least£200 per household - those already

claiming State Pension or another social security benefit (but not

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit) or have

previously received a Winter Fuel Payment, won't need to apply. And,

as last year, anyone aged 80 or over will get an extra payment of up

to£100.

Along with the Winter Fuel Payment, this year most households with an

older person aged 70 or over will receive a one-off payment of an

extra£100 to help with additional expenses including council tax

bills.

Pensions minister Malcolm Wicks said:

'We've been enjoying a hot spell just now and winter

seems a long way off. But I want to tell people aged 60 and over that

the government will be ensuring many of them have a warmer winter

again this year, with the help of the Winter Fuel Payment.

'This winter about eight million households will benefit from the

£200 Winter Fuel Payment, worth around£4 a week. And around two

million people in these households will also receive the 80+ Annual

Payment of up to£100. This means their household will receive a

total payment of£300.

'What's more, this year we are recognising the extra expenses older

people have to cope with, which is why most households with someone

aged 70 or more will get£100 to help with additional expenses,

including council tax.

'So all eligible pensioner households will be getting a winter fuel

payment of at least£200 this winter, with the over 70s getting£300

and the over 80s getting£400. And these payments are tax-free lump

sums that won't affect anyone's right to receive other benefits.'

Those who haven't received a Winter Fuel Payment before, and won't

get a social security benefit in the qualifying week will need to

claim. The latest date a claim can be received is 30 March 2005.

Mr Wicks added: 'Older people should not have to worry about

keeping their homes warm over the winter months. The government is

determined to continue tackling fuel poverty and the Winter Fuel

Payment is one of the initiatives helping to do this.'

Notes

* Anyone aged 60, 70 or 80 or over on or before 26 September 2004 may

qualify.

* Most eligible people will get their payment automatically. People

who qualify for the 80+ Annual Payment of up to£100, and the one-off

70+ payment, will get the extra money automatically - they will not

need to claim. Eligible people who will receive their Winter Fuel

Payment automatically:

* those who receive a State Retirement Pension or other social

security benefit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or

Child Benefit) in the qualifying week 20-26 September 2004

* those who received a payment last year and whose circumstances have

not changed.

* Those people who are newly eligible and who need to claim, and have

not already received a claim form, can get one by visiting the Winter

Fuel Payment website - www.thepensionservice.gov.uk/winterfuel, by

calling the helpline on 08459 15 15 15 (0845 601 5613 for textphone

users) or tearing off the coupon in national newspaper

advertisements.

* There is a separate helpline number for queries on the 70+ Payment.

The number is 02920 428 106.

* For people who need to claim to be sure of receiving their Winter

Fuel Payment before Christmas, we must receive their correctly

completed claim form by 24 September 2004. The final deadline for the

receipt of claims for this winter is 30 March 2005.

* More information on Winter Fuel Payments is available in an

information leaflet 'Your guide to Winter Fuel Payments', which will

be widely available locally, and also on the Pension Service website.

* The Winter Fuel Payment Helpline is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm

Monday to Friday and calls are charged at local rates.

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