When the temperature drops, your bills can skyrocket. Cold Weather Payments are one of the ways that you can get a bit of money back to offset the additional expense brought on by a harsh winter. If you’re eligible for them, you can use these payments to help you afford to heat your home or buy warm clothes or extra bedding.
What are Cold Weather Payments?
If the temperature in your area dips below 0°C for seven or more consecutive days between the 1st of November and 31st of March, you could be entitled to a payment of £25 for each week of very cold weather. Only people on certain benefits are able to claim, and Cold Weather Payments do not affect your other benefits.
How to claim Cold Weather Payments
People who already receive certain types of benefits should be automatically signed up to get Cold Weather Payments. £25 for each week of below-freezing weather will be paid into the same bank account as your other benefits.
If you already get Universal Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and you either have a baby or a child under 5 comes to live with you, then you should tell Jobcentre Plus. You may now be eligible for Cold Weather Payments when you might not have been before your living situation changed.
How can I check if a Cold Weather Payment is due in my area?
All you need to do to see how many seven day periods of very cold weather have happened in your local area is to enter the first half of your postcode to the DWP’s Cold Weather Payment checker.
When will I get my Cold Weather Payment?
You should receive your Cold Weather Payment automatically within 14 days of the period of cold weather. If you don’t get a payment when you’re expecting to, get in touch with Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre.
Who is entitled to Cold Weather Payments?
You may be eligible to Cold Weather Payments if you’re receiving:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest.
However, being on any of the above benefits doesn’t guarantee that you’ll qualify for Cold Weather Payments.
Do you get Cold Weather Payments on Universal Credit?
If you get Universal Credit and you’re not employed or self-employed you’ll usually receive Cold Weather Payments if one of the following also applies:
- you have a child under 5 living with you
- you have a health condition or disability and have limited capacity for work
- you have a disabled child amount in your claim (whether you’re employed or not).
Do you get Cold Weather Payment on PIP?
Personal Independence Payment is not one of the benefits that could entitle you to Cold Weather Payments. This type of payment is only available to people who are on income-related benefits.
Will I get Cold Weather Payments on ESA?
Recipients of income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will usually be able to get Cold Weather Payments if they’re in a work-related activity group or support group. If you get income-related ESA and are not in either group you could still get Cold Weather Payments if you have:
- a severe or enhanced disability premium
- a pensioner premium
- a child who is disabled
- Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- a child under 5 living with you
Do carers get Cold Weather Payment?
Carers or the person they care for could qualify for Cold Weather Payments if they get certain benefits. If in doubt check with Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre to see if you’re eligible.
Other ways to save money on energy
Even if you don’t qualify for Cold Weather Payments, there are other ways you could get some relief on high winter bills.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
Certain groups can claim a saving of £140 off their energy bill between September and March through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
You could qualify if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or are on a low income and get certain means-tested benefits.
Read more about the Warm Home Discount Scheme and how you can use it on the .gov.uk website.
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born before the 5th of November 1953 you could get between £100 and £300 each year to put towards your winter energy bills.
Find out if you qualify and how to apply here.
Switching energy suppliers
Changing gas or electricity suppliers, or even changing tariffs within your existing supplier or to a different method of payment can save you a significant amount of money. This is something anyone can do, read more about it on the Money Advice Service site.