When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
28,000 pensioners across the south missing out on cold weather payments
1:30pm Thursday 14th January 2010 in News
UP to 28,000 pensioners across the south are missing out on Government cash to heat their homes because of red tape, it has been claimed.
The Liberal Democrats attacked the “complicated system” that failed to deliver cold weather payments worth £25 a week to disadvantaged elderly people.
The payments are sent out automatically in extended periods of cold weather – but only to those who have already claimed for, and are receiving, pension credit – a benefit aimed at boosting the income of poor pensioners.
That suggested about 5,500 in Southampton, 5,000 on the Isle of Wight and 1,900 in Eastleigh were missing out.
Mr Huhne said: “Fuel prices are at an all-time high, making cold weather payments all the more important to people already struggling on a poverty pension.
“Labour has failed pensioners by creating a complicated system that makes it difficult for them to get the help they need.”
But Helen Goodman, a minister at the department for work and pensions (DWP), insisted it now took just a phone call to apply for pension credit.
And she pointed to other Government help for all pensioners, with £250 winter fuel payments for over-60s rising to £400 for the over-80s.
Ms Goodman said: “The Government has spent about £260m on cold weather payments so far this winter, with about 9.7m payments to about 4.2m recipients.”
The £25 payments are triggered when the average temperature falls to 0C, or is forecast to, for seven consecutive days.
If you are eligible for the boost call 0800 991234 to apply.