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Winter Fuel Payments: Chronically Sick

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's estimate is of the cost of extending the winter fuel allowance to terminally ill people who would not otherwise qualify, excluding the one-off additional payment of £50 for 2008-09. (241070)

Winter fuel payments are made to people aged 60 or over including those who are disabled or terminally ill. The heating costs of terminally ill people arise throughout the year, not just in winter and disability living allowance provides additional weekly financial support of up to £5,915 a year related to an individual's circumstances.

The latest available data suggest that the annual cost of extending winter fuel payments to people aged under 60 in receipt of disability living allowance under the special rules applicable to people who are terminally ill and not expected to live for more than six months is estimated to be about £5 million. This is an estimate for 2008-09 and is based on a £200 payment, which excludes the one off additional payment of £50 for this year.

It is not possible to determine how many of the estimated beneficiaries live in a household that would already be entitled to a winter fuel payment.