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DHSS mailshot to pensioners 11 November 2005

    The Department of Health and Social Security has announced it intends to conduct a mailshot exercise aimed at encouraging those pensioners not in receipt of Income Support to make enquiries as to their potential entitlement.

    The Department is always keen to ensure that members of the public are claiming those social security benefits to which they are entitled. This is given even greater weight at a time when rising fuel costs mean that people in general, and especially those on lower incomes, have to dig deeper into their pockets.

    The Department is aware there is a culture, especially among the older generation, of persons who are less inclined to seek the financial assistance which is available to them, and to which they are entitled, by way of social security benefits. There will also be those pensioners who may not be aware they may be entitled to further financial assistance from the Department.

    For these reasons the Department is to target those pensioners with a mailshot who it considers could most likely be entitled to additional assistance by way of receiving Income Support. The intention is to send out a letter, during the week commencing 14th November, to those pensioners not in receipt of Income Support or the Pension Supplement and who are paid their State pension weekly at the Post Office.

    Steve Rodan, MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said, “The letter will invite the pensioner to consider making a claim to Income Support. The letter will provide some basic information in relation to conditions governing entitlement, together with examples of the amount of benefit which could be payable, in order to assist the reader in making a determination as to whether there is likely to be entitlement”.

    Mr Rodan went on to say “The timing of this exercise will also enable any person who becomes entitled to receive Income Support before the first week in January to also qualify for payment of the £260 lump sum Winter Bonus.”

    Mr Rodan added “This exercise has received the support of Age Concern and the Department is grateful to them for offering their services to persons who may wish to contact Age Concern for advice and further information.”

    Media Contact

    David Braide, Social Security Deputy Director (Pensions/Income support), 685081

    Notes to Editors:

    1. Income Support is a benefit designed to ensure that pensioners, the sick and disabled, carers, lone parents and certain others have a guaranteed minimum income.

    2. Generally speaking, a person is entitled to Income Support if their income (and any savings) falls short of their “applicable amount”. A person’s applicable amount is usually made up of a personal allowance, child’s allowances (if applicable), eligible housing costs and premiums. Premiums are additional amounts where a person satisfies certain conditions.

    3. The non-taxable Winter Bonus is an annual lump sum payment payable to pensioners who are in receipt of Income support for any day in the first week in January. It is also payable to certain recipients of Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance who are below State pension age, if they have met the conditions of entitlement for a Christmas Bonus in the previous December.

    4. The Pension Supplement provides a 50% increase to a person’s basic Retirement Pension. It also provides the same percentage increase to a person in receipt of a long term bereavement benefit or a long term incapacity benefit. Entitlement to the Supplement is gained by satisfying certain contribution conditions in the Isle of Man for a period or periods amounting to at least 10 years.

    11th November 2005

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