Older preople across Northern Ireland should make sure that they claim for the winter fuel payments to which they are entitled.
More than £50 million has been issued in payments to some 300,000 people across Northern Ireland but older people risk missing out on the payment unless they submit a claim.
Winter feul payments are issued annually to older people to help with heating bills and most households with someone born on or before 5 July 1951 are eligible for £200 towards their winter fuel bills. Households with some aged 80 and over receive £300.
Some older people may be experiencing difficulty in meeting household bills and this payment will make a considerable difference in times when fuel costs are high.
I would encourage all those who think they may qualify for the payment and have not yet done so to contact the winter fuel payment helpline on 0845 9151 515 to check if they can claim.
New claimants, who have not yet claimed, can still download a form online at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment-claim-form.pdf or call the helpline on 0845 9151 515 (0845 601 5613 for textphone users.
Claims must be received no later than 31 March 2013.
If you are an older person who has not received your payment please make use of the helpline and likewise if you know any older people who have not received the payment, remind them of the helpline.