Pensioners start to receive up to £600 to help with energy bills

Credit: PA

More than 11.6 million pensioners will start to receive up to £600 from Wednesday to help with their energy bills this winter.

Winter Fuel Payments, which have been boosted this year by an additional £300 per household Pensioner Cost of Living payment, will land in bank accounts over the next two months.

The vast majority of payments will be made automatically, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We want to do everything we can to support pensioners who are often the most exposed to higher costs.

“That’s why we’re providing all pensioner households with an additional £300 on top of their Winter Fuel Payments to heat their homes and stay warm this winter.”

The money will appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s national insurance number followed by “DWP WFP” for people living in England, Scotland and Wales, or “DFC WFP” for people in Northern Ireland.

While most payments will be automatic in November or December, some people may need to make a claim, such as those who qualify but do not receive benefits or the state pension and have never previously received a Winter Fuel Payment, the DWP said.

The payments follow the PM warning that soaring inflation, strikes and spiralling NHS waiting lists will cause a “challenging” winter. Credit: PA

Over seven million payments of £324 have already been made this month to low-income households as part of this government’s cost of living support.

This includes pensioners receiving Pension Credit.

The average Pension Credit award is worth more than £3,500 a year, and for those pensioners who may be eligible but are yet to make an application, there is still time to do so and qualify for the additional £324 payment.

This is because Pension Credit claims can be backdated by up to three months, provided the entitlement conditions are met throughout that time.

To ensure that a successful backdated claim falls within the qualifying period for the extra £324 cost-of-living help, pensioners are being urged to claim Pension Credit as soon as possible, and by no later than December 18.

An online Pension Credit calculator is available to help pensioners check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

It was also confirmed in the Autumn Statement that retirees will be heading for a 10.1% increase to the state pension from next April, after Mr Hunt confirmed that the pensions triple lock is being protected.

The full new state pension is currently £185.15 per week, so a 10.1% increase would push that figure up to £203.85.

For those on the full, old basic state pension, who reached state pension age before April 2016, the increase means a weekly rise from £141.85 to £156.20.

The triple lock is normally used to calculate the increase in the state pension, but it was temporarily suspended due to the distorting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

People should also watch out for bogus texts and emails from scammers pretending to offer cost-of-living payments, which may try to trick them into handing over personal details.

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