OAPs set for cash boost due to cold snap

AS wintry conditions plague shivering Suffolk, it has emerged that thousands of pensioners are today in line for a cash windfall.

AS wintry conditions plague shivering Suffolk, it has emerged that thousands of pensioners are today in line for a cash windfall.

The government has trebled the Cold Weather Payment this year from �8.50 to �25 a week, but to receive it the temperature has to dip below freezing for seven consecutive days.

However, as a result of the recent cold snap, 56,097 people across Suffolk and North Essex are estimated to be eligible for the payment.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said: “When the temperature goes down no one should be afraid to turn up the thermostat.

“Thankfully this cash boost will make a real difference to people in Ipswich who are worried about their fuel bills.

“Coming on top of the extra winter fuel payments, local pensioners in particular can turn up their heating during the cold snap without having to worry.”

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The payments are made automatically to those who qualify when the average temperature falls below freezing for seven consecutive days.

Those eligible include pensioners, the severely disabled and families with a child under five or a severely disabled child, as well as those receiving pension credit, income support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, welcomed the cash, but added: “The problem with the payment is that it has got to be cold for a consistent period.

“If you have short periods of very cold weather, which is common, it doesn't get triggered meaning the elderly don't receive any help.

“Every little helps, but we often go through a whole winter without a Cold Weather Payment.

“It would be better if the government committed to a better sustained pension, to help the elderly all year round.

“They need to look at the whole system of how they fund pensioners.”

The government is spending an extra �575 million this year on winter fuel payments for pensioners, with �250 going to households occupied by someone aged 60 or over, and �400 to those with someone aged 80 and above.

Call Age Concern Ipswich on 01473 257039 for more information.

Are elderly people properly looked after? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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