During the cold winter months many of us love curling up with a nice hot drink, in our warm homes.
But we know there may be some who struggle with the cost of heating, so we want to let you know that there is Government support out there if you receive a qualifying benefit.
Older people are particularly vulnerable and there is extra Government money available, in addition to any State Pension payments.
And if you have parents, relatives or neighbours who might need any of the extra support, please do let them know too.
The Winter Fuel Payment of between £100 and £300 each year helps older people keep warm during the winter months, it provides reassurance to older people that they can keep warm during the colder winter months because they know they will receive help with paying their bills.
In 2016/17 Winter Fuel Payments benefited just over 12 million older people in around 8.6 million UK households.
98 per cent of people get their Winter Fuel Payment automatically before Christmas.
However, if you need to claim, it is really simple. For more information visit gov.uk
Once you’ve claimed, you’ll get Winter Fuel Payments automatically every year unless there is a change in your circumstance.
We also provide Cold Weather Payments for when it gets really cold, if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for 7 consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
You’ll usually automatically get Cold Weather Payments if you already receive Pension Credit or another qualifying benefit and are eligible for a payment.
There are circumstances when Pension Credit recipients will not be eligible for Cold Weather Payments, this could be for situations like being in a care home, or an independent hospital. For more information visit gov.uk
Check if a payment is due in your area.
In addition to Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, the Warm Home Discount could provide a further £140 off your electricity bill – with around 2 million households currently benefitting each year.
The money isn’t paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between September and March.
If you are eligible, you should have received a letter saying your account will be credited automatically or telling you how to apply.
If you’d like more information, visit gov.uk for more details.
Many older people on lower incomes are also entitled to Pension Credit and perhaps don’t even realise it.
This can top up your income to at least £159.35 for individuals and to £243.25 for couples and can make a big difference to your standard of living if you’re eligible.
From April 2018, the rates will increase to £164.13 for individuals and £250.54 for couples.
These amounts may be higher for people who are severely disabled, have caring responsibilities or have certain housing costs.
Overall, around 2 million pensioners receive Pension Credit and we believe many more could be eligible.
Older people who have worked hard all their lives, and contributed to our society and economy over many decades, deserve this additional support in their retirement – so we hope as many as possible will apply for our help.
It is vital that people take advantage of the support we can provide. Don’t be too proud to claim Pension Credit, it’s money you’re entitled to!
Don’t struggle in silence. Be savvy about what’s available to you and make sure you stay warm this winter.
And please do pass this message on to any older people you know who might be missing out.