What Are Cold Weather Payments?
With general costs of living becoming increasingly expensive, more and more of us have to make adjustments to get by. More of us also have to ask for help with our general expenses – with energy expenditure at home likely to escalate for some time. As the cold months start rolling in, it’s time to start putting money aside for your gas and electric bills – as they’re likely to be more expensive between September and February!
Ensuring you have enough heating each winter for you and your family is essential and should be a fundamental right! That’s why cold weather payments – a government staple for those who may struggle to fund their increasing energy bills – come in so handy.
However, cold weather payments are only available to specific citizens – and it’s essential to know how much you might be entitled to, if at all, before you make an application of your own.
What Is a Cold Weather Payment?
Simply put, a cold weather payment is a benefit given to people up and down the UK by the government to help with the extra costs that come during the winter. The primary idea is to help those who cannot afford the additional heating costs by giving them non-taxable grants to help offset energy bills.
Cold weather payments should be automatically paid to those who are already receiving financial support from the government. For example, if you’re already receiving certain welfare or credit from the state, you’ll likely be entitled to grants ahead of the winter each year. More on this below.
How Much Do People Receive From Cold Weather Payments?
Cold weather payments are calculated based on a seven-day period – and on physical temperatures in your area.
You will only receive your first cold weather payment once your area has been at or under zero degrees for seven consecutive days. For example, you may find temperatures dip significantly heading into December, during which time cold weather payments are fairly common.
For every seven-day period at zero or below, you will receive £25 (at the time of writing). This may be subject to change. Typically, you should receive the payments within two weeks (14 working days) of the end of each period.
The money will usually be sent straight to your bank account or building society account, along with any other potential benefits you may receive. Therefore, there’s no extra need for you to submit further details to the government if you’re already receiving welfare.
Who Is Eligible for Cold Weather Payments?
To receive any form of cold weather payment, you must also receive certain other benefits.
For example, you are eligible for a cold weather payment if you receive a pension credit, income support, support for mortgage interest, are registered for universal credit, are on income-tested jobseeker’s allowance, or even receive regular income-tested employment and support allowance. If you’re unsure of your potential eligibility based on any of the above, it’s a good idea to speak to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) directly.
Eligibility for these benefits already prove that you are not necessarily in a position to be able to afford the oncoming costs of the winter – and that you will need the government to financially help to support you and those living with you, too. Again, these rules may be subject to change.
How Do I Claim My Cold Weather Payment?
The good news is that you should not have to apply to receive a cold-weather payment!
To receive your first cold weather payment, you must live in an area that has reached zero degrees in temperature or lower for at least seven consecutive days. This is closely monitored, meaning those eligible for benefits living in colder zones will automatically receive top-up grants when the seven-day periods elapse.
However, if you are concerned that you have still not received your cold weather payment long after it may be due, it is best to contact the pensions service, the DWP, or even Jobcentre Plus. You can also get in touch with the Universal Credit helpline for more information.
It is also wise to alert Jobcentre Plus about your income support, income-related employment and support allowance, or income-based jobseeker’s allowance – and whether or not you have a child in your care.
If you do not alert them, you could be overlooked for a cold weather payment, so it is best to be sure rather than wait!
Once you have proven your eligibility, you should receive the cold weather payment fairly swiftly – and it’ll go some way to help pay towards escalating energy prices as the cold snap rolls over.
Cold Weather Payments in Summary…
Don’t ever run the risk of losing out on heat this winter, and make sure you get your cold weather payment in order!
As you can see, many are eligible and should not even have to ask for help. However, it is always good to keep an eye on the weather and your accounts to ensure that you have not been forgotten!
There are other ways you can help to cut down on the cost of warming your home during colder months, too. Have you reached out to your local council to find out if you are entitled to free insulation in your attic or cavity walls? Have you considered approaching your local Citizens Advice Bureau for further help and advice, too?
You should never be expected to turn down the heat if you need it – sadly, energy prices are likely to increase for the foreseeable, but there are measures in place to protect the neediest and vulnerable. For low-income families and the elderly, cold weather payments are hugely beneficial. While they may not pay the whole of their bills off during winter, every little helps.
Don’t forget to contact the DWP, Jobcentre Plus, or pensions service if you feel you may be entitled to a cold weather payment in the past 14 working days. Don’t get shut out in the cold on cashback!
If you unfortunately fall out of the category eligible for cold weather payments, LoanBird might be able to help. We have affordable loans that can cover you over the 6 month winter period whether you have great credit or bad credit.
If you want to apply now with us, we’ll have a decision for you within a few minutes.