Winter fuel payment ‘totally inadequate’

Assembly Member John Dallat has reminded constituents that they should check if they are eligible for Winter Fuel Payments. Claims must be made by 30 March 2012.

He said: “Memories of the enormous cost of keeping warm last winter coupled with the escalating price of oil, gas, electricity and solid fuel have caused many people to worry about how they can afford to keep warm this year.

“Winter Fuel payments of up to £300 could be available and should be automatic if you are in receipt of a State Pension and have reached the qualifying age, which means you must have been born on or before 5 January 1951 and have resided in Northern Ireland on any day throughout the week of 19-25 September 2011.

“Some people who are not in receipt of a State Pension are also eligible but will have to apply either by filling a form online, obtaining a claim form from the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline or obtaining a form and advice from my office in Limavady (7776 3391).

“The current Winter Fuel Payment which ranges between £100 and £300 is now totally inadequate to make a significant impact on fuel poverty, which is higher in Northern Ireland than anywhere else and needs to be reviewed urgently.”