Heating bills typically rise in the winter, which can be a pressure for poorer people in society.
To try to combat this, the Department of Labor and Pensions (DWP) has stopped paying the cold weather, giving people extra money when temperatures drop below zero.
Here’s how to find out who is eligible, and how the payment works.
What is the cold weather charge?
The cold weather charge is a DWP scheme that runs from November 1 to March 31 of each year.
A fee of £ 25 is sent to eligible people for each seven-day period in which the temperature is below zero.
It is designed to be used for heating bills and similar essentials.
Am I Eligible for Cold Weather Payment?
If you currently receive any of the following, you may be eligible to receive cold weather payments:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Allowance for job seekers based on income
- Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Universal credit
- Mortgage interest support (SMI)
Recipients of income support or an income-based jobseeker’s allowance may receive cold weather payments if they have a disability or a pensioner’s premium, a child who is disabled, a child tax credit that includes an element of disability or a child under the age of five living with them.
Persons entitled to ESA may also receive the benefit if they are part of an activity group or work-related support group, receive a severe or improved disability premium, a pensioner’s premium, a child tax credit which includes an element of disability, or have a child under the age of five living with them.
Universal credit claimants may also receive the benefit unless they are employed or self-employed, and one of the following applies; have a health condition or disability and have a limited ability to work, and / or have a child under the age of five living with them.
They will also be eligible if they have a child with a disability, whether they are employed or not.
How do I claim it?
If you are eligible for payment you will receive it automatically.
If a change in your circumstances means that you believe you should now be eligible, for example if you have a baby, or a child under the age of five comes to live with you, then you should contact Jobcentre Plus.
Tell your pension center or Jobcentre Plus office if you think you should have received a cold weather payment but you are not. If you are on universal credit then contact the helpline on 0800 328 9344 instead.
You can find out if your area is cold enough to pay by entering your zip code on the DWP website here.
After any period of very cold weather in your area, you should receive payment within 14 working days. It is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.