Over 15,000 Teesside pensioners will miss out on Cold Weather Payments triggered by the recent weather, according to analysis of Government figures by the Liberal Democrats.
Cold Weather Payments of £25 a week are paid to people on low incomes who receive a qualifying benefit, such as Pension Credit, which goes unclaimed by as many as 1.7m pensioners across the country.
Commenting, prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar constituency, Ian Swales said:
“It is a scandal that local pensioners on the breadline are missing out on these payments, worth an estimated £375,000.
“Fuel prices are at an all time high, making Cold Weather Payments all the more important to people already struggling on a poverty pension.
“Labour has failed pensioners by creating a complicated system that makes it difficult for them to get the help they desperately need.
“The Government should be making every effort to identify pensioners who are missing out and get them this extra cash.”
People can get Cold Weather Payments worth £25 when temperatures are below zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days when they claim a qualifying benefit.
2. Pension Credit is a qualifying benefit yet Department for Work and Pensions figures for 2007-08 (the most recent available) show that between 1.1m and 1.7m pensioners who are poor enough to qualify for Pension Credit do not claim, meaning they won’t receive Cold Weather Payments to help with fuel bills during the recent cold snap