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Older people wanting to receive help heating their home before Christmas should make sure that they get their applications for Winter Fuel Payments in now, minister for pensions reform Mike O'Brien has said.

The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual sum designed to help people over the age of 60 meet the cost of their energy bills. The deadline for completed claim forms this year is March 30th, 2008.

"Older people shouldn't have to worry about heating their home. Over eight million households will benefit from the £200 Winter Fuel Payment this winter, with those containing someone aged over 80 receiving £300," Mr O'Brien commented.

"Successful applications received by 21 September2007 will get their payment in time for Christmas.

"We don't want anyone to miss out on the help they are entitled to.

"If you haven't received a Winter Fuel Payment before - and are not receiving State Pension or another social security benefit - you need to apply."

People whose circumstances have changed since they last received their Winter Fuel Payment have to contact The Pension Service to inform them of their new address, bank account or change in benefit entitlement if they want to keep receiving the payment, the Department for Work and Pensions says.

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