OLDER people are being urged to claim their Winter Fuel Payments to help them with higher energy costs.
For households with someone aged 60-79 it will increase from £200 to £250 and for those with someone aged 80 and over, it will increase from £300 to £400.
Those already in receipt of the payment will receive it automatically and do not need to contact the department unless their circumstances have changed.
But those who have not received a payment before should get their applications in as quickly as possible, to make sure they receive the payment before Christmas.
Pensions Minister Mike O’Brien said: “We’re spending an extra £575m to increase Winter Fuel Payments this year to help pensioners facing increases in their energy bills.
“We don’t want anyone to miss out on the help they are entitled to. If you haven’t received a Winter Fuel Payment before you need to apply by September 19 to receive your payment before Christmas.”
He added: “I’d also encourage people to make the market work for them – to contact their energy suppliers to see whether they qualify for a reduced tariff and find out what they provide to improve energy efficiency.
“Customers should shop around and consider switching their energy supplier as different firms offer different tariffs – average savings from switching are between £130-150 in total.”