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Winter Fuel Payments: Cancer

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend eligibility for winter fuel payments to cancer patients aged under 60 years. (241931)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend eligibility for the winter fuel allowance to all cancer patients. (242941)

Winter fuel payments are made to people aged 60 and over because they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather during the winter months. The structure of the scheme, which provides for an annual lump sum payment, is not appropriate for the needs of cancer patients whose extra heating needs can arise at any time of year, not just in the winter months.

Help is already available through the disability benefits and the disability premiums in the income-related benefits in recognition of the extra costs, including heating, which people with cancer may have. These are spread over a 52-week period and can have a substantial annual value, up to around £8,000.

The Government believe that the existing help currently provided is the best way to help meet individuals’ needs and there are no plans to extend winter fuel payments to other vulnerable groups.