Cold Weather Payment
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.
Who is eligible for the cold weather payment?
You qualify to receive the cold weather allowance if you meet certain criteria. For example if you receive:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Universal credit
- Support for mortgage interest (SMI)
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.
When is it paid out?
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.
How much is the cold weather payment?
The payment is currently £25 for each block of 7 consecutive days below zero degrees recorded. The payment should be received within 14 days of each period of very cold weather. 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.
How do you claim?
There are no extra steps to receive the cold weather payment. If you are eligible to receive the payment you will be paid automatically. However, if you have not received your payment, the best thing to do is get in contact with the Pension Centre or your local Jobcentre Plus office. Or if you are receiving Universal Credit, either log in to your account and add a note into your journal or give the Universal Credit helpline a call on 0800 328 9344.