Jo demands extension of Winter Fuel Payment to disabled

Jo Swinson meeting elderly Milngavie residents at the Fraser Centre

Jo has reminded pensioners to submit their claim for the Winter Fuel Payment

Jo Swinson and her Liberal Democrat colleagues are calling on the Government to extend the Winter Fuel Payment scheme to include severely disabled people.

Government figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that nearly 2,000 vulnerable people in East Dunbartonshire could be eligible for the Winter Fuel Allowance, if the scheme was extended to those claiming Disability Living Allowance because of high-level mobility problems.

Jo said:

“Winter Fuel Payments are designed to help those most vulnerable in society meet the costs of keeping warm in winter. The scheme currently only includes people over 60 years old, but those East Dunbartonshire residents who have mobility problems are just as likely to be vulnerable to the effects of the cold and face the same high energy bills as a result.

“If people are in receipt of the higher level Disability Living Allowance due to mobility restrictions, then it is only fair that they be included in the scheme which already pays to pensioners regardless of income or assets.”

Jo Swinson has also given a reminder to those pensioners who are already entitled to receive the Winter Fuel Payment to submit a claim for the allowance. She said:

“Anyone over 60 who does not receive the state pension or benefits needs to submit a claim form before the deadline of 30 March 2009 in order to be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment this winter.

“Those who received the payment last year will automatically receive it unless their circumstances have changed. I am happy to help anyone seeking advice on the Winter Fuel Payment and my office can be contacted on (0141) 762 2209.”

Government figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that 1,910 people currently obtain the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance in East Dunbartonshire.

Winter Fuel Payments are available to those aged 60 to 79 (during the qualifying period). This year recipients will receive a payment of £125 or £250, depending on the claimants circumstances in the qualifying week (15 to 21 September 2008). Those aged 80 or over are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment, and will receive this year either £200 or £400, depending on your circumstances in the qualifying week.

Claim forms are available from The Pensions Service and should be returned on or before 30 March 2009 to qualify this winter.

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