MORE than 4,000 local pensioners could be missing out on receiving money to help pay their heating bills.
In Kingston borough 1,830 people thought to be entitled to cold weather payments of up to £25 a week failed to claim.
In Richmond borough, 2,500 are not registered for the government grants, although they might be able to get them.
The money - which is on top of the automatic £200 winter fuel payment - is paid to over-60s on low incomes who receive a qualifying benefit such as pension credit.
Payments are triggered when the temperature is below freezing for seven consecutive days - as it was earlier this month.
But potential claimants must first fill in a form to receive the money, which the areas' Liberal Democrat MPs say makes the system too complicated.
Twickenham's Vince Cable said: "This has been a hard winter and the weathermen say that the cold will return. Many pensioners are worried about their fuel bills because of high gas and electricity prices, poorly insulated homes and low incomes.
"It is scandalous that many sit at home freezing because they cannot afford to keep warm. It is even more scandalous that money set aside to help never gets to them because of the complexities of the meanstested benefit system."
Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey said: "Labour has failed local pensioners by creating a complicated system that makes it difficult for them to get the help they need. Fuel prices are at an all-time high, making cold weather payments vital to struggling pensioners.
"Local pensioners could be missing £75 over the last few weeks. We've all heard the horror stories about pensioners having to limit their heating. Cold weather payments could really help."
Natasha Rosner, of Age Concern Kingston, encouraged people who are unsure about whether they are entitled to the payment to contact the charity.
She said: "The Kingston area has qualified for one cold weather payment since November 1, 2009, up until January 18. We have been told that this payment was made automatically to those people who qualified last Thursday.
"Anyone over the age of 60 who is on a low income or pension should claim their full entitlement to benefits."
Age Concern Kingston's First Contact helpline can advise pensioners on whether they are entitled to cold weather payments and help them make a claim. The helpline number is 020 8408 8170.