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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions her Department has had with the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the winter fuel payment scheme. (289930)

We regularly review our policies with other Government Departments which have an interest. However, there have been no recent discussions with the Department of Energy and Climate Change regarding winter fuel payment policy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for winter fuel payments from residents of (a) Chorley, (b) Lancashire and (c) England were subject to inaccurate data handling by the Pension Service resulting in an extension of prioritising time in the winter of 2007-08. (292106)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures are in place to ensure that inaccuracies in data held by the Pension Service do not result in the late issue of winter fuel payments. (292107)

The measures for existing DWP customers are that winter fuel payments are generated using existing data from the payment system. For customers who are not in receipt of another DWP benefit, a properly completed claim form must be received by Thursday of the qualifying week (third week of September), in order to guarantee payment before Christmas.

If more information is required from the customer they may not receive their payment before Christmas. However, as long as a properly completed claim is received by 30 March, payments can still be issued up to mid-June.

During 2008-09 the Pension, Disability and Carers Service delivered automatic winter fuel payments to over 99.9 per cent. of eligible customers by the end of December, and as a result over 12.5 million customers received their payment before Christmas 2008.