Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has hit out at the UK government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over delays to pensioners in West Dunbartonshire receiving their Winter Fuel Payments.
The Winter Fuel Payment is a UK-wide benefit worth between £100 and £300 which is supposed to be paid by early January to eligible over-65s to help with heating costs.
However, a number of elderly residents across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale have contacted their MP to report that they still haven’t received their payment after the recent spells of freezing weather.
SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes wrote to the DWP to raise concerns on behalf of several constituents who had been in touch. UK government officials have now admitted that there have been delays in processing the Winter Fuel Payments which are normally paid automatically in November and December.
The DWP has given assurances that all Winter Fuel Payments will be processed by 31st March 2021. However, local residents eligible for the payment are being asked to double-check whether or not they have received it yet.
Enquiries can be made to the DWP’s Winter Fuel Payment Freephone helpline on 0800 731 0160 for anyone wishing to request an urgent payment if overdue or check eligibility.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“Many of my elderly constituents in West Dunbartonshire rely on the Winter Fuel Payment of between £100 and £300 to help cover the costs of their energy bills during the winter months.
“It’s deeply concerning, especially given the recent spells of freezing weather, that the DWP thinks it’s acceptable to keep pensioners blighted by fuel poverty waiting months overdue for this vital payment.
“The stay at home requirements due to Covid-19 have also meant that many older people in particular are worried about their home energy costs just now.
“I’d urge anyone who thinks they should have received their Winter Fuel Payment but hasn’t yet to get in touch. For people aged over-65 it’s worth double-checking your eligibility online at www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment or by calling the government’s free helpline on 0800 731 0160.”