§ Angela Eagle
The administration of Winter Fuel Payments is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Christopher Chope, dated 22 October 1998:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what is his estimate of the number of pensioner households entitled to Winter Fuel Payments for winter 1997–98 who have not yet been paid in full.The making of Winter Fuel Payments to almost 10 million pensioners, in over seven million households, before the end of March 1998 has been a challenging task for the Benefits Agency (BA). This was achieved whilst maintaining normal benefit business.In excess of 9.76 million Winter Fuel Payments were made automatically by 31 March 1998. Based on official records all eligible pensioners have been issued with a payment. However, it is likely that a small number of customers have not yet been paid because the original girocheque was not cashed, or customers have not yet queried their entitlement. It is not possible to estimate how many of these cases are outstanding. If, however any eligible pensioner feels that they are entitled to an initial or further payment, they should apply to the BA for a review of their entitlement.Thank you for the opportunity to explain the position.