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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

Cold weather payments

Some people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are entitled to cold weather payments after prolonged periods of below-zero temperatures.

In Scotland, those on low incomes and benefits may receive a winter heating payment, which does not depend on how low the temperature falls.

What are cold weather payments and who can receive them?

The cold weather payment is a government benefit top-up to help with fuel bills during times of exceptionally cold weather.

Payments are not age-related.

To qualify, you must already be receiving certain benefits and meet additional criteria outlined on the government website.

Qualifying benefits include:

  • Pension Credit

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Universal Credit - although there are certain exceptions

  • Support for Mortgage Interest

Each cold weather payment is paid for a seven-day period and is worth £25.

More than one payment will be made during the course of the winter if there are enough periods of cold weather.

The scheme runs between 1 November and 31 March each year.

Hospital stays can affect payments.

You should also tell Jobcentre Plus if you have a baby or if a child under five comes to live with you.

When are cold weather payments triggered?

The average temperature in your local area must be zero degrees Celsius - or less - for seven days in a row, or be forecast to be below freezing for seven consecutive days.

The temperature needs to be recorded by the weather station nearest to your postcode.

People in England and Wales can check whether they are eligible by entering the first part of their postcode here.

People in Northern Ireland can check their eligibility here.

How are cold weather payments different from the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment is a different benefit, paid to pensioners.

More than 11.3 million pensioners received the payment in winter 2022-23.

It is worth between £100 and £300, regardless of weather conditions.

The amount depends on your age and whether you live alone or with a partner.

In winter 2023-24, those eligible are also entitled to a pensioner cost-of-living payment of between £150 and £300.

These payments should be made automatically.

Some pensioners and other people on low incomes also qualify for the warm-home discount scheme - a one-off £150 discount on their electricity bill, applied between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024.

How do I get cold weather payments and how long does it take?

You do not have to do anything in order to get cold weather payments.

The money should be paid automatically into the same bank or building society account as your benefits, within two weeks of the qualifying period of cold weather.

If you do not receive a payment, contact the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus.

Cold weather payments do not affect other benefits.

PHOTO: Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash 

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