Retirees tell of how their “future looks bleak” as the rising cost of living puts additional pressure on them. As a benefit payment, cold weather payments are available for households located in areas with sub-zero temperatures over a seven-day period. Applicants must be receiving certain qualifying benefits, such as Pension Credit or Universal Credit.
This Vital Benefits support is only available to eligible applicants between the months of October and March.
However, some of the country’s leading charities are calling for reforms to cold weather payments to provide more support to those who need it most.
Specifically, Age UK has a proposal to offer payments of £500 to those eligible for benefit support.
These suggestions from the charity are part of a larger group of suggestions aimed at tackling the problem of rising energy bills.
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Earlier this year, industry regulator Ofgem confirmed that the energy price cap will rise to almost £2,000, which will see bills rise by £693 a week.
On top of that, experts believe the price cap could hit £3,000 by October if no action is taken.
Speaking to Age UK, Norma, 81, said: ‘The uncertainty over energy bills as well as increased food and clothing is stressful and the future looks bleak.
“I never imagined that this country would leave me, at 81 and disabled, feeling helpless and insecure.”
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Rachel, an unpaid carer for her partner, added: “My husband has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, is totally bedridden, doubly incontinent and my daughter and I are caring for him completely at home.
“It needs to be washed and changed at least three times a day and therefore my washing machine and dryer are in constant use.
“We have to keep the heating on most of the time because the temperature drops quickly if the house gets cold. Our fuel bills are currently £270 per month.
“These latest increases are going to make a huge difference to our spending but we have no choice because of my husband’s health.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of the organisation, said: ‘It was already clear that the support announced by the government last month was insufficient to protect low and modest income older people from the impact of rising price inflation. .
“Now, deepening our concerns, our new analysis shows that one in five older people who are already hard-pressed are expected to miss out on their £150 council tax refund.
“The government needs to do more to help them by expanding eligibility for the rebate program, or through some other mechanism that puts extra money in their hands.”
As part of his spring statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a doubling of financial support for the Household Support Fund.
On top of that, The Times reports that Mr Sunak is considering making further changes to council tax rebate in a bid to tackle rising energy bills.