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DHSS invites claims for new winter bonus 28 November 2007

The Department of Health and Social Security is pleased to announce that claims for the new “Variable Rate Winter Bonus” can be made from 1st December.

Hon W E Teare MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said,

“It is fundamentally wrong that some people who receive income support and therefore automatically qualify for the £300 Winter Bonus are better off than others in similar circumstances who, because they have incomes just above the income support thresholds, miss out on a lump sum payment in winter time. The introduction of the Variable Rate Winter Bonus will rectify this anomaly and provide a financial boost to a number of vulnerable people when they need it most”.

Juan Watterson MHK, Political Member of the DHSS with special responsibility for Social Security said,

“This new benefit will provide an appropriate level of financial help to those in the so-called “grey area”. I encourage all those who think they may be entitled to read the Public Notice and get in touch with the Department as soon as possible.”

This new benefit is being introduced to provide help with meeting winter fuel bills to pensioners, long-term sick and disabled persons and families who have a child under 5 who have low incomes, but who are not entitled to income support because their income is just above the relevant threshold. It is not available to those who receive income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance, as they will automatically be considered for the Winter Bonus. The Variable Rate Winter Bonus is worth between £10 and £300, depending on the applicant’s circumstances, and in the majority of cases will be paid in January.

Details of who may be entitled to a Variable Rate Winter Bonus and how to make a claim for one will be set out in Public Notices appearing in the local newspapers over the next two weeks.

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