Pensioners should get their Winter Fuel Payment asap

26 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Pensioners who have not claimed a Winter Fuel Payment before should not delay getting their application in, as it could make a significant difference to their energy bills this winter as prices soar.

The Department of Work and Pensions is urging people who have never had a Winter Fuel Payment from the Government before to act quickly in order to receive it by Christmas.

Those who have claimed their payment before need not do anything, they will receive it as usual, but those who have never had one should get onto it as soon as possible, the DWP has said, to make sure they get it in time for when they need it the most.

The Winter Fuel Payment has risen this year in accordance with the rising cost of fuel bills. For households where someone is aged 60-79, the payment will increase from £200 to £250 this year, and for those households where someone is aged 80 or older, they will receive £400 instead of £300 this winter.

"We're spending an extra £575m to increase Winter Fuel Payments this year to help pensioners facing increases in their energy bills." said pensions minister Mike O'Brien.

"Last year around 12 million pensioners in more than 8.5 million households received payments from the government. We don't want anyone to miss out on the help they are entitled to."

Pensioners need to apply for their Winter Fuel Payment before September 19 to ensure they get it before Christmas, he added, so time is of the essence.

Mr O'Brien said that the government will continue to help consumers by encouraging them to employ energy-saving practices in their homes and by working with energy companies to lower household bills.

Now is the ideal time to check a home's energy efficiency, he said, because with prices soaring it can make a real difference. As much as £1 for every £3 spent on energy is currently wasted in homes without proper insulation.

"I'd also encourage people to make the market work for them" he added, encouraging householders to get in touch with their energy supplier to enquire whether they qualify for a reduced tariff and to find out what they provide to improve energy efficiency.

Mr O'Brien also said that consumers should shop around and switch energy provider if they can find a better deal elsewhere, with average savings made from switching at £130-150 a year.

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