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Lump-sum payments to assist with winter heating costs

Initiative aims to help those struggling with rising gas and oil prices

Lump-sum payments will be made available for those on low incomes to help with heating costs this winter.

Those on low incomes who don't receive any income-related social security benefits will be able to apply for the Variable Rate Winter Bonus.

Those eligible can apply for a cash payment of either £25, £50 or £75.

Government says the initiative is being brought in in light of rising gas and oil costs.

Winter bonuses are already available for those on income support, income-based jobseekers' allowance and employed persons allowance.

Anyone on those schemes already won't be entitled to the new support.

Entitlement for the new scheme will be based on assessments of personal circumstances and means during the week commencing 3 January.

To qualify, a person's income that week must be just above income support levels and the applicant must be responsible for paying housing costs.

Claims must be made before 3 February - more information is available at www.gov.im/socialsecurity or ringing 685 053.

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