By Pat Hutchinson, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB
Q: I was born on 13 March 1952 and I am 62 years old. I am working full-time and I live alone. Can I get the Winter fuel Payment?
A: A Winter Fuel Payment is an annual lump sum, tax-free payment paid to older people during the winter months. It is not means tested and it does not affect any other benefits. The amount you receive depends on your circumstances.
For the winter of 2014/15 it varies between £100 and £300. You do not have to spend it on fuel costs.
You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2014/15 if you were born on or before 5 July 1952, and normally live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland on any day in the qualifying week, which is the week beginning on the third Monday in September (15 - 21) 2014.
You can’t get a Winter Fuel Payment if you are the partner of, and living with, a person who also qualifies for a Winter Fuel Payment and receives Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. In that case, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will pay any Winter Fuel Payment to the partner who is receiving that benefit.
If you should have received an automatic payment but have not done so by the end of December, you should contact the Fuel Payments Helpline and, if necessary, make a claim. The Helpline contact details are:
Winter Fuel Payments Helpline
Tel: 0845 915 1515 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am-4.30pm)
Textphone: 0845 601 5613
If you qualify for payment and are not in one of the groups that receive it automatically (see www.direct.gov.uk for list of groups) you should make a claim. If you are a member of a couple who both qualify but do not receive payment automatically, you can choose whether both of you make a claim or one of you claims for the household. You can find claim forms on the GOV.UK website at www.direct.gov.uk
If you need to make a claim, you must do so on or before March 31 following the winter to which the payment applies. Late claims will not be accepted.
• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk
Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org