The cold weather payment is a special fund held by the government to help those most vulnerable pay for their gas and electricity bills during periods of particularly cold and adverse weather, where we are all more likely to need to turn on our heating to keep warm and thus use more energy. It is worth noting that this is not the same as the winter fuel payment, which is paid out regardless of the weather conditions.
You qualify to receive the cold weather allowance if you meet certain criteria. For example if you receive:
However please note that this is not the complete list of qualifying criteria and that some of these criteria have further caveats around who can receive these payments. For the full list of qualifying criteria visit the Direct.gov website.
This payment is different to the winter fuel payment in that it depends on the weather and temperature in your area. For this payment to be made the average temperature where you live must be forecast or recorded to have been zero degrees Celsius or below for over 7 consecutive days between 1st November and 31 March. Specific weather stations up and down the country are used to record the temperature. You can check if your area is due to receive the payment here.
The payment is currently £25 for each block of 7 consecutive days below zero degrees recorded. This payment won’t affect any of your other benefit payments and will be paid directly into the same bank or building society account you normally receive benefit payments into.