Rishi Sunak 'taking money out of our pensions' says economist
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now issued new guidance on the support which will help those in receipt of the already existing Winter Fuel Payment. More than eight million pensioners who claim this support will be eligible for the additional £300 which has been created to support those who are not getting Pension Credit. This comes as households are experiencing an annual average energy bill hike of £693, with costs expected to hit £2,800 by October.
People who were born on or before September 26, 1955 are able to get from £100 to £300 for their energy bills through the Winter Fuel Payment.
The payment is not taxable and does not impact a benefit recipient’s existing claims with the DWP.
To get the support, claimants must be of state pension age and on another benefit payment, such as Universal Credit.
For the extra £300 payment, the DWP has shared new guidance on how much people will get as part of the support.
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For the Winter Fuel Payment in 2022/23, if you qualify and live alone and were born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956, you will get £500. If you were born on or before September 25, 1942, you will get £600.
If some qualifies and lives with someone under 80 who also qualifies, they will get £250 if they were born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956. Those who were born on or before September 25, 1942 can claim £350.
People who qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies can get £250 if they were born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956. Alternatively, they can get £300 if they were born on or before September 25, 1942.
Those who qualify and live with someone who gets certain benefits can get £500 if only one of the couple gets the DWP payment if they were born between September 25, 1942 and September 25, 1956. They will get £600 if they were born before the latter data.
Among the qualifying benefits are Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.
Last week, Rishi Sunak went into detail in a speech about how the new payment will be delivered to vulnerable pensioners.
Mr Sunak said: “Many pensioners are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs. They can’t always increase their incomes through work.
“Because they spend more time at home, and are more vulnerable, they often need to keep the heating on for longer.
“We estimate many people who are eligible for Pension Credit are not currently claiming it, which means there will be many vulnerable pensioners not receiving means-tested benefits.
“So, I can announce today that, from the autumn, we will send over eight million pensioner households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment – an extra, one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of £300.”
Jenny Holt, the managing director for Customer Savings and Investments at Standard Life, emphasised the “respite” the new payment will provide to older people across the country.
Ms Holt explained: “The one-off pensioner payment will provide some relief for pensioner households, who’ve had to navigate a challenging few months.
“Given that the state pension rose by less than inflation this year, many pensioners have found the rising cost of living environment tough, and particularly those who are eligible for this extra payment.
“While pensioners will have to wait until later in the year to receive this extra income, it will still provide some respite ahead of the state pension triple lock being reinstated next year.”
Many financial experts believe the new support package is a welcome step but hope the Government will continue to provide similar financial assistance if it is needed.
Craig Wilson, a managing director at Sopra Steria, praised Mr Sunak’s intervention but outlined why such payments are a vital lifeline for so many.
Mr Wilson said: “While these one-off payments are helpful, the cost of living is an ongoing situation, so it is likely people will need continuous support in the coming months.
“It is important for the Government to continue to listen to the needs of the most vulnerable and provide support in tangible and accessible ways.”
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