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Pensioners: Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners who reached the age of 80 in 2008 have not qualified for winter fuel payments because their birthday was later than 15 September 2008. (254842)

Winter fuel payments of £200 (£250 for 2008-09) are available to eligible people who are aged 60 or over by the qualifying week (15-21 September for winter 2008-09). Where an eligible person is aged 80 or over in this qualifying week, they will receive an amount of £300 (£400 for 2008-09).

The estimated number of pensioners in Great Britain who reached the age of 80 in 2008, and would not have qualified for the increase in winter fuel payments because their birthday was later than the qualifying week, is around 87,000. The September qualifying week is used to ensure that payments can be made before Christmas. If the qualifying period were to be extended or a later week used, the payment exercise could not be completed in time for the payments to be available when they are most needed. Whichever qualifying week is used, there will always be people who just miss out.

Notes:

1. An estimate of the number of people turning 80 in the calendar year 2008 has been derived from the 2006-based national population projections for Great Britain from the Office for National Statistics.

2. The estimated number of pensioners in Great Britain who reached the age of 80 in 2008, and would not have qualified for the increase in winter fuel payments, are those who turned 80 between 22 September and 31 December 2008.

3. This estimate was rounded to the nearest 1,000 individuals.

4. The estimate does not include those people living in the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

5. The winter fuel payments rates quoted in the answer are for full rate payments. Where there is more than one eligible person in a household people may receive a shared payment.

Source:

DWP and The Office for National Statistics