Winter Fuel Payments to be cut?

Winter fuel payments should be means-tested to help pay for elderly care, says minister.

radiatorA new report by the Lib Dem MP and former minister Paul Burstow has said means-testing winter fuel payments could fund reforms to elderly care.

The proposals suggest limiting winter fuel payments to those currently receiving pension credit, which the report claims would save £1.5bn a year.

Pension credit, unlike winter fuel, is means-tested, and only households with income of less than £217.90 a week (£142.70 for singles) receive it. Under the proposals an estimated three-quarters of those currently receiving the benefit would miss out.

Speaking to the BBC Mr Burstow said: “Social care isn’t free, but it could be a lot fairer for those who have worked hard all their lives. By concentrating the winter fuel payment on those eligible for pension credit, we can pay for a cap on care costs.”

More detail needed

Winter fuel payments are currently paid to anyone born on or before 5 July 1951, with the consequence that roughly 100,000 pensioners with incomes over £100,000 receive the benefit.

The report follows comments by the Conservative minister Nick Hurd last week that wealthy pensioners should consider giving the benefit to charity. They also echo similar comment made by MP Nick Bowles in July which sparked outrage.

But Michael Mitchell of Age UK said that more detail was needed: ”We appreciate that the country is facing difficult financial times, but we must be careful that the wider implications for older people of any potential source of funding are fully considered.

“Until the government sets out concrete proposals it is difficult to assess what the overall impact would be on older people. ”

What do you think? Do you currently receive winter fuel payments, and if so what would a cut mean to you? Tell us what you think below.

Learn more…

Winter fuel payment – Do you qualify for the winter fuel payment? How much should you receive?

Warm home discount – The new scheme will replace social tariffs. Are you eligible?

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  • Black Cat

    My pension income is less than £200 p/week, I am not eligible apparently for pension credit as I own my home but the winter fuel allowance is a winter lifeline for my heating and I still have to limit my heating carefully

    • Big Al

      You are not eligable for pension credit because with £200/week you dont need it and there are many young people who live on a lot less who can only dream about owning their own home. Your generation may be asset rich but cash poor but my generation are asset poor and cash poor.

  • Tenax

    In case anyone has not noticed – the Winter Fuel Allowance WAS cut at Christmas 2012 by £50.

    • Big Al

      No you are right I didn`t notice, because I am too young to get it, probably have a lower income than you and still have a home to heat.

  • StevenF

    As always this Government seems intent on targeting those who cannot defend themselves from these financial cuts. Those of us who have worked all our lives for this country and have paid our taxes as well as making huge contribution to society through our efforts are seen as a soft target by this Government once again. Winter fuel payments for those eligible are necessary, in some cases a survival need. Alongside bus passes, especially for rural areas are a necessity not a luxury. Perhaps it is time that the prime minister and his ministers remember, as they keep telling us, this is an aging society and therefore care should be given when considering the so called grey vote.

    • Diesel Cummins

      Good post, said what I wanted to say much more eloquently, my post was anger driven!

    • Big Al

      Here we go again, “we worked all our lives and paid taxes”,well when you worked and paid taxes you werent paying for old people to have winter fuel payments.You oldies all retired at 60 or 65 whereas I wont retire until I’am 70 and you think its fair for me to pay for winter fuel payments to people on final salary pensions that I can only dream of. I will be lucky to have paid off my student loan at the age you retired!

  • geoff

    I’ve got a good idea how about putting 5p on the tax rate for higher earners that would pay for the care of the elderley. Oh wait we’ve only just given the rich a tax cut,oh well time to take it off the poor again. Same old story.

    • Big Al

      The only group of people who are paying a higher rate of income tax now than before the financial crises is the top 5%. The top rate in 2007 was 40% now its 45%.
      As you say, same old story.

  • Alf Williams

    Same old story ,hit the easy targets,never mind Election day looms then we get all the promises VOTE THEM OUT

    • Big Al

      Thats why you guys aren’t easy targets.

    • Ian

      I couln’nt agree more!!

  • Mavis

    I am appalled that this Government is thinking of doing away with the Winter Fuel payments. I am of pension age but still having to work to make ends meet. My income is limited and the winter fuel payment is of great help to me. My bus pass is also of help to me but I can only use it rarely as it cannot be used before 9.30am and I have to be at work well before that. The TV licence is of help to older pensioners – after all how far do these government ministers think the pension goes. They are talking about the same pension (£144??) for all but not until 2017 !!! It’s not enough now so what will it be worth in four years. We are apparently “all in this together” but not the Conservative Government

    • Big Al

      As the state pension is the only state benefit to have a triple lock, it will, in 4 years time, be worth more than it is now. When the Govt say “were are all in this together” thay actually mean “except pensioners” whose vote they want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.stewart.79274089 Linda Stewart

    I am £2 over the minimum for pension guarantee credit, so why should I miss out?

    • Big Al

      Because if you are over the minimum you don’t need it, thats why.

  • disalusioned pensioner

    I believe pensioners living inSpain still get the winter fuel payment, THIS SHOULD BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY but it is necessity for ordinary pensioners as is the bus pass. How would MPs fair on £144 per week. Our savings which we thought would add to our income are earning us nothing!!!!!!

    • Big Al

      So pensioners in spain who don’t need it should have it stopped but British people who also dont need it should have it continued. Something tells me you don’t live in Alicante. Its always someone else’s benefit that should be cut isn’t it.

  • katietaylor43

    What a joke, work hard all your life, save your money, struggle to pay into a private pension and then get penalised. The very Government who say they are going to simplify the benefit system are now complicating it further. The only people who lose out all the time are those work work most of their life and save a little! The rich won’t notice the cut, the idle will get more benefits, the illegal and refugee live on benefits but the hard average paid worker -gets naff all once again.

    • Big Al

      But the Govt doesn’t have any money of its own.The only way it can get it is to take it from someone else. What makes you think it is fair for the Govt to take money from hard working people and give it to pensioners who dont need it?

  • Wendy

    Just hope people vote them out how would they like to see there parents living on a 144 pounds a week

    • Big Al

      Never mind their parents, there are plenty of young people living off less that £144/week.

  • Sue

    When will this government ever get things right, It is always the same work all your life, pay into a private pension, then when you are of pension age they let you know you would have been better off if you had done what millions of others did all their life’s and sat on your backside and sponged off the state.We brought our children up to respect other’s and work for what they want, imagine how they feel when at the end of a hard working week they, like thousands of other’s in their position cannot afford to go out for a night because they have their bill’s to pay, then they see people who they were at school with who have never done a day’s work in their life living in a nice house, all the mod cons, plus cars, 50in t.v.s, children with all the gaget’s, Will someone please tell me, where did WE go wrong. By the way we can hold our head’s up high when we walk down the street, WHY because we have two children to be proud of, who were brought up to be proud of who they are and not to sponge of the state.

    • Big Al

      I feel for your hard working kids. I feel exactly the same as them when I look at all the state benefits showered on pensioners whether they need it or not just because politicians want their votes.

  • Diesel Cummins

    This winter, 2012/13 is the first year I have received the winter payment before that it had to be seven consequetive days of below freezing and then I would get a £25 payment because I am on DLA, now I also receive Pension Credit as well but am nowhere near that £217 threshold.

    My point being a millionare, a multi millionaire even can get DLA but why should they also receive the winter heating payment to heat their mansions? Furthermore, I believe that those who scarpered to warmer climes receive the payment also.

    Stop the obvious iniquities in this system and ensure those who really need help with their heating get it!

    The Government of this country has it’s priorities all wrong, our own comes before sending billions in aid to countries that think we are a joke, put a stop to the immigrants that come here expecting and receiving a free ride, put a stop on the professional scroungers who have not worked a day in their entire wasted and useless lives, go get the fiddlers and dodgers that inhabit our pubs and bookies. Not after the easy targets, us pensioners who have contributed to the welfare system our entire lives only to be treated worse than scum!

    • Big Al

      Quite right.If you dont need it you shouldn’t get it.

  • Pat- manchester

    Don’t get pension credits, have worked all my life, never claimed anything from the state. Just get a basic pension, it would be a hardship if fuel payments stopped. It seems that government penalise people that are hard working and are not a drain on the state.

    • george

      It seems to me that you only gets “benifits” if you are already on the benifits ladder, i.e. in many cases a scrounger. Please don’t blame this particular government, I have come to the conclusion that they “are all in it together” talking a good talk in opposition but completely oblivious to the real world once they get in power and are more concerned with looking after their world profile by giving aid to mainly undeserving countries and to assist immigrants, legal and illegal to have a better life than many of us who worked all our lives and paid into the system can afford. I heard a quote the other day about Cameron visiyng Libya etc which referred to him as “Heir to Blair” I think that pretty well sums it up. I am well into my seventies and have become very cynical about polititions in general, frankly I consider the vast majority are nothing more than educated idiots, some not even being very well educated.
      We worked and saved all our lives so that we could have a comfortable retirement and to be able to leave something to our children, only to see those savings fast dissapearing as we are having to spend them to supplement the meagre state pension, while we see people who have never worked a day in their lives, and in many many cases are immigrants who have never contributed in any way and probably never will and, in some cases are terrorists whose “human rights” must be protected at all costs. Problem is those costs are are effectively coming out of our pockets thus robbing us of our comfortable retirement and our children of their inheritance, something our overpaid masters wil not have to worry about

      • Big Al

        If you “saved all your life” you presumably did so in order that you could supplement your “meagre state pension” and have a comfortable retirement, in which case why are you complaining.If however,you are just living on a “meagre state pension” then presumably you weren’t actually saving at all.

        • george

          Apart from this I will not even attempt to justify myself to someone who has completely missed and misunderstood the whole point I was trying to make

          • Big Al

            I will read your post again George. I am however taken aback by the number of pensioners who are convinced that they deserve handouts irrespective of whether they actually need them and irrespective of the hardship that is being experienced by a younger generation due to the fact that the Govt is virtually bankrupt.

    • Big Al

      If you dont get pension credits its because you have additional income such as an occupational pension and so dont “need” the winter fuel payment. It must be nice I grant you but if you have another pension you dont “need” it. The article suggests keeping it for pensioners that only have the state pension to live on.

      • gaz

        i dont get pension credit,i have a private pension!its £500 a year less tax so its £400 mega it aint so i NEED winter fuel allowance.not all private pensions are good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Bloggs/100003294751321 Joe Bloggs

    I am a pensioner who lives in a rural area in the south west and yes I do have a bus pass. This is very seldom used as the roads are so bad around here that travelling by bus can be extremely unpleasant and is best avoided. One bus that I had the misfortune to ride appeared to have faulty suspension. I suspect that it had air suspension which had collapsed hence the bus was riding on its bump-stops. Every little divot in the road caused crashing and banging and the sensation of being kicked up the backside. If one has a “digital driver” as well, the journey will be purgatory. Once the dual carriageway is reached things improve tremendously but it is a long and weary ride to the “super-slab.”

    A year or two ago I took a cut-price coach to the north east in order to buy a car. The cut price coach was IMHO not really fit to be on the road as it was not running on all cylinders and it felt as if the prop-shaft was bent. The climb up the M62 was done at a snails pace and the coach was being overtaken by everything on the motorway.

    Full marks have to be given to Gateshead public transport however as their buses have car-like comfort and performance. Just how they can afford such excellent vehicles I don’t know but such vehicles put what we have in the south west to shame. Possibly because wages, fuel, tax, insurance and tyres cost a similar amount, the additional cost of having excellent buses rather than rubbish ones is not as much as one might expect. The roads are better too!

    • Big Al

      I am glad you have the disposable income to purchase a car and have the choice of “seldomly” using your bus pass. Chance would be a fine thing of either a car or a bus pass.

      • stephen

        You believe in equality then… you have a chip on both shoulders.

        • Big Al

          No ,merely pointing out that you pensioners are the ones that simultaneously complain but have nothing to complain about.

      • Chris S

        Big Al needs to remember he will get old and will still have bugger all so stop the bitching get an education and then the good job might appear, or just shut up

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Bloggs/100003294751321 Joe Bloggs

    It is a weird tax and pensions system that we have as it allows non-doms getting paid millions (the word “earning” is inappropriate) to pay very little tax. The USA has a different system and taxes US citizens on their WORLDWIDE income. Maybe if our government did the same they would not be short of money.

    • Big Al

      UK citizens do get taxed on their worldwide income. Non doms dont because it is so easy for them to leave.As this not being their home country if you tried to tax foreigners on their foreign income they simply wouldn’t be here and the UK would get nothing.

  • Eddie

    R0ll on election day get rid of the tories Vote in a party that will help those who have helped themselves and do not penalise those who have worked hard all their lives and now cannot claim ANY benefit of any kind VOTE UKIP Eddie

    • Big Al

      Except maybe: state pension, winter fuel allowance, bus passes, carers allowance, incapacity benefit,free pescriptions,free medical treatment, bereavment benefit…..
      Other than that what have the Romans ever done for us!

  • Big Al

    Here we go again, “we worked all our lives and paid taxes”,well when you worked and paid taxes you werent paying for old people to have winter fuel payments.You oldies all retired at 60 or 65 whereas I wont retire until I’am 70 and you think its fair for me to pay for winter fuel payments to people on final salary pensions that I can only dream of. I will be lucky to have paid off my student loan at the age you retired!

    • stephen

      Do you not think that some of us pensioners might have children who some of us have to help out financially. Two of my three children are property owners but my 28 year old was out of work for 18 months after being made redundant and I paid his mortgage until he was able to find another 130 miles away and now pays rent after selling the flat. Do you think that us old gits live in isolation from young people? Eighteen months of me paying his mortgage meant most of my savings went so as to prevent him losing his home and paying off his mortgage and getting a bad credit rating in the process. Now tell me I am well off!

      • Big Al

        My point exactly. There was a time when young people had to look after their elderly parents. Now the elderly parents look after the young.Why? because it is the older generation that now have the money to do so.That is my point.

        • chris S

          Certainly have a chip on your shoulder, a lot more pensioners would have been alive if the second world war hadnt happened, but with out there sacrifice things could have been a lot different for us all so stop the bitching and as for student loan with interest rates so low there paying you, So when you get old and need help your saying no help, go for it

      • Badger

        I have just been sampling the comments made by Big Al. I think he is an ill informed idiot. I worked all my life. I contributed to the welfare of the elderly in my lifetime. I contributed to free education for many of the people who went to university and now want to take away my few benefits. I paid into a pension scheme at the expense of foreign holidays and going up the pub every night. I struggled to buy my own home and have never been a burden on the State. My reward apparently is that I should be allowed by the Big New Brave World of Big Al to freeze at home or I could go out and find somewhere warm to spend my time. Oh! wait a minute he wants my Bus Pass as well, so I can’t go out. I take great pleasure in the fact that like us all Big Al has to get old and boy will he squeal when the next generation turn on him. Be careful of what you wish for Big Al.

  • Big Al

    If you are under the age of 35 you dream of having a home of your own to heat.

  • sally

    l dont get pension credit it seem to me if you worked and payed a full stamp and not a married womens one you lose out . l still have a morgage on my house but still get no help some seem to get it all and others get none a very unfair system

    • Big Al

      If you have no other income and just live off the state pension you will get pension credit. But as you have a mortgage I suspect you do have other income which is the reason why you don’t get pension credit. Nothing to do with whether you paid a full stamp or not.Pension credit is for those that have no other income and need it.

  • Grey Bird

    Well, i was born in 1952. I stayed at home to look after the children and when I could go to work I paid half stamp (married woman’s stamp) and no-one told me of the consequences once i reached retirement age.
    Now, at 60, i do not get a pension, i will not get a full pension when i am finally eligible. I am not holding my breath at getting the pension at 62 because the goal posts could be moved again. I have been told I can get credits towards my pension, because i elected to stay at home. I rang the pension people and they said they cannot find any proof of me having children or receiving family allowance, which would have counted as proof of me staying at home. Ok, i can prove i had children, but to reiterate, i cannot as yet claim anything until, one day in the next 20 years (i exaggerate) i might be eligible for a pension.
    Fuel allowance i will not get at all.
    So, Big Al, you are studying to improve your life and presumably your income? Let’s hope you do but what about the thousands of women like me did not have a career so they could give their children, hopefully, a good start in life? Perhaps you are one of those children?
    So to sum up what i am saying, i am not a money sucking pensioner who live off the backs of people like you. I work for every penny i get and continue to subsidise students, immigrants, asylum seakers and anyone else who wants a slice of my cake.

    • Big Al

      Well Grey Bird, first, did you really not realise when you were paying less national insurance than anyone else why you were doing so?.Be honest, did you really not know that the reason you were paying less National insurance than everyone else at the time was that you wouldn`t recieve the full pension?. Second, you will recieve a state pension at 62, a women my age wont recieve it until they are at least 68 and the prospect of them moving the goalposts for us still further is a lot greater than for you.I am not bitter that your generation have done so much better than us, I just think that given that you have you shouldn’t all be complaining.

  • Grumpy Me

    How can you expect any politician who has never had to decide which bill to not pay this month to have any understanding of what it means to live in the real world!

  • old news agent

    small pensions.

  • Roger

    Blanket welfare payments can never be a good idea. They line the pockets of those that don’t need them and deprive those in need of higher payments. Imagine if the budget for these payments was held but only those in need received payments… it would possibly cover all their energy costs for the year!

  • vic .w

    they are all ar***s kick the poor all the time .they are out of touch with the people of uk.

  • disappointed

    I am single, own my own house have a second small pension, therefore not entitled to any “benefits”, but look forward to receiving winter fuel allowance.

    When peoples incomes are worked out to be receiving less than £142.70 to qualify, do they include the costs of the free rent, rates and cost of dental visits etc. that they receive. I am sure all added up their incomes would be much higher than mine.

    I cannot have my heating on during day, only evenings because of cost as i have many other bills as a home owner. Building insurance, maintenance costs, full rates less 25% , dental visits.etc.

    I have also worked all my life and paid full national insurance while bringing up my children.

  • Rainman

    I was born in 1949, I got my winter fuel payment the past few years but nothing this year. I have been ringing constantly and they say they’ll send it. Stuff it if the countries in such a bad state that I don’t get my money but a young alcoholic gets extra money to feed his drinking well I’m at a loss as what to say next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=755437379 Brian Jones

    The article doesn’t say that the government are considering this , only that a couple of MPs are suggesting it. What a lot of people fail to realise is that the Winter Fuel Payment was introduced instead of a pension increase so is therefore a right. I can understand younger people thinking it’s some sort of perk but it’s not it’s something that most pensioners paid NHI for during their working years, as for the argument that they will retire later let’s not forget that most pensioners also started working at 14 or 15 not 18 as today’s ypouth do.

  • past student

    big al you should be a politician because you sound just like them! they have never done a decent days work in their life do you work or are you a student? Have you thought that if you are a student that you might never get a job as there are students out there with degrees who cannot find work. Then what are you going to do for money? Are you a student because you do not want to work but it makes you look good and you can use this as an excuse. You sound as if you have a big problem with pensioners! Your parents might become pensioners so don’t knock them mate, you might be lucky enough to become one of them yourself one day and you might be glad to be able to have a pension and any other benefits that you might be entitled to. some pensioners fought wars to give the likes of you and others your freedom and liberty so if it was not for them you might not be here today. We are one of the worst countries for looking after our pensioners and a lot of pensioners went without a social life in order to to save for a home of their own and to provide for their families. I took note of the comment you said of somone who said that they were having just £2. more than the threshold payment for pension credit and you think that they have enough to live on. I bet you have a social life and do not stay in despite you complaining that you might not pay off your student loan until you are 70. Boohoo! Just because you have a sad life do not begrudge the little that pensioners get. You tell them to stop complaining but hang on is’nt this what you are doing. If you cannot manage on whatever you have, do what many of the pensioners do to subsidise their meagure pensioners and get a job that is if you are lucky enough to find one. I agree that some people do not need some of the benefits and that they should be means tested but be realistic and give pensioners a decent living wage and not a pittance to live on. Not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth or even brains! So for whom I can only assume is a sad young man or maybe woman would it not be better if you diverted your energy to things more positive in your life and more in line with your own age group or is it easier to comment on the pensioners whose circumstances you obviously know nothing about..

  • Ian

    My wife suffers with circulation problems and the winter fuel payment helps toward the very high cost of keeping warm in severe cold weather. We would have to cut deeply into our long life savings, not by any means a vast sum of money, to cover the cost, so the helping hand from the government helps a small bit, but is very welcome.
    We have worked all our lives, paid our taxes and national insurances, so a little help in old age is good.

  • alan

    Although I do receive this I believe it costs more to administer than it is worth, so should be scrapped altogether and integrated into the state pension.

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