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Winter Fuel Payments: Cancer

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial support his Department makes available to cancer patients to assist them in meeting the cost of their heating bills; and if he will make a statement. (247752)

People with cancer may receive Winter Fuel Payments if they are aged 60 or over, giving older people reassurance that they can afford to heat their homes in winter. Cold Weather Payments are intended to help vulnerable groups on low incomes with the extra heating costs which result from periods of very cold weather that last, or are forecast to last, for seven days. For winter 2008-09 Cold Weather Payments have increased in value from £8.50 to £25. They are paid to people awarded Pension Credit, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance when the temperature criteria are met for their area. Those receiving Income Support, income based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance during the assessment phase must also be receiving a pensioner or disability premium, or have a child who is disabled or under the age of five.

People with cancer may also receive financial support through the disability benefits and the disability premiums in the income-related benefits in recognition of the extra costs, including heating, which they may have. These are spread over a 52 week period and can have a substantial annual value, up to around £8,000.