Charity raises concerns over winter fuel payment

Charity Cancer Choices has urged patients fighting the disease to apply for their winter fuel payment before it’s too late.

The Dungannon-based charity said there was serious confusion and a lack of information available to cancer patients surrounding the payment.

The one-off heating allowance, announced on December 11 last year, is expected to be available until the end of February, and can only be received if applied for.

Madeline Mulgrew, Cancer Choices CEO, said: “Although we are delighted that many people with cancer are eligible for this payment, patients are increasingly frustrated with the levels of confusion surrounding the application process.

“Many of our patients are unaware of their entitlement to the Winter Fuel Payment and many of those who have heard of it are unsure what is involved, when in fact the application process is really quite straightforward.”

Ms Mulgrew urged cancer patients to contact their GP immediately to ask for the consent form and prepaid envelope to apply for the allowance.

To qualify for the payment, people must be registered with a GP and resident in Northern Ireland, which includes those in residential, nursing and hospice care. There is no age limit on entitlement and the fuel payment applies to adults and children alike.

Eligible patients are:

  • people who have received surgery for cancer within the qualifying period – June 13, 2011 to December 18, 2011
  • people who have received radiotherapy, chemotherapy or palliative care for cancer within the qualifying period
  • people for whom a decision is made, during the qualifying week of  December 12 to 18, 2011, to provide treatment for cancer in the form of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or palliative care

Ms Mulgrew she had spoken directly with the Department of Public Health and Social Services, who assured her that anyone who qualified for the benefit and had not yet submitted their consent form would still be able to.

Call Cancer Choices on 028 8772 9850 for further information.


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