We know only too well that the Winter Fuel Payment is vitally important to help many older people survive winter. We manage over 10,000 calls into our Advice Service every year, many of whom who are from older people struggling through winter.
The cost of living is rising and energy bills place an even greater strain on older people during the winter months. 61.5% of older people are living in fuel poverty here. 70% of older people here worry most about staying warm in winter.
The Winter Fuel Payment is not means-tested which means that everyone of eligible age receives it, irrespective of their circumstances. As a result, we also know from experience that some older people don’t rely on that payment in the same way that many others do.
Last year we received donations from older people who wanted to support their peers who were not in such a fortunate position as them. We only ask those who don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to survive this winter to donate it to those who do.
If you would like to donate your Winter Fuel Payment please use the form below, donate via Paypal or send a cheque made payable to 'Age NI' to our office: 3 Lower Crescent, Belfast, BT7 1NR.
If you have any queries, please contact Linda Parker via our contact form or 028 9024 5729.
If you cannot see the donation form below, please donate via our JustGiving page or PayPal form using a credit or debit card, or call 028 9024 5729.
You can also donate via our JustGiving page or PayPal form using a credit or debit card, or by calling 028 9024 5729.
Age NI believes that right now, universal payment is the only viable solution. Older people who are struggling tell us that the Winter Fuel Payment can make a huge difference to their lives in winter.
The fact that some better off older people receive the Winter Fuel Payment is not a reason at this time to get a rid of straightforward scheme that works for the majority of older people with low or modest incomes.
Every year almost £200 million in benefits goes unclaimed by older people. Until such times as we can confidently ensure that older people can access every penny that they are entitled to, there is no alternative to universal payment. This means that at the very least everyone who needs their Winter Fuel Payment to survive winter receives it. That is why Age NI is asking people who do not need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to the charity.
This is a fundamental issue about how to ensure that each and everyone of us in Northern Ireland, no matter age we are or where we live, can afford to heat our homes and pay our fuel bills and put food on the table during the winter months
Northern Ireland has the largest percentage of domestic homes using heating oil in Western Europe - with 68 per cent homes (82 per cent in rural areas) using heating oil as their primary heating source. 61.5% of older people here live in fuel poverty.
We spend more on energy per annum than the rest of the UK. NI households spend 43 per cent more on energy than the UK average.Source: Family Spending Survey, Office for National Statistics (2009 Edition).Figures used are £1,200 for GB and £2,100 for NI.
The Winter Fuel Payment is a sticking plaster solution to a wider problem which we in Age NI continue to shout loudly about. Fuel poverty is a result of a combination of factors - energy efficiency, income and energy prices – all of which must be tackled.
Age NI believes that there is an urgent need for Northern Ireland to implement a Social Tariff for fuel costs, already offered in Great Britain, and that all funding options should be explored in depth. Automatic payment of benefits also has the potential to positively impact on this issue. Our politicians need to look seriously at options that help us challenge the issue of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland.
Short url to this page: www.ageni.org/wfp