As the nights start to get colder, many of us are already starting to think about switching the heating on for the first time in months. The first few weeks of September have already seen temperatures start to drop with many of us feeling a slight chill in the air just months after Wales recorded its hottest temperatures in its history.
While parts of the UK are set to get some unseasonably warm weather over the weekend, the coming months will see the mercury starting to drop as the autumn nights set in. With energy bills set to be double what they were last winter, it has understandably left millions of households worried about how they will afford to pay their gas and electric in the coming months.
Thankfully, there is help in the cold weather payment, which offers you a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days. This is separate from the winter fuel payment, which is given to those over the state pension age to help them pay their bills.
Here's everything you should know about the cold weather payment including eligibility, how much you get and how to claim it.
What is the cold weather payment?
According to the UK government website, the cold weather payment is a payment you can receive if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
Most recently eligible households got £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.
When does it open again?
This year’s scheme will start on November 1, 2022, and is expected to run until March 31, 2023. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment in November 2022.
How can I find out if I am eligible?
You may get cold weather payments if you’re getting any of the following benefits:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Universal credit
- Support for mortgage interest
You’ll also usually get cold weather payments if you get pension credit, which you may qualify for if you're at the state pension age and on a low income. Read more about that payment here.
You’ll usually get cold weather payments if you get income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance or a disability or pensioner premium; a child who is disabled; child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element; or a child under five living with you.
You’ll usually get it if you get universal credit and you’re not employed or self-employed. One of the following must also apply:
- you have a health condition or disability and have limited capability for work (with or without work-related activity)
- you have a child under five living with you
You’ll also be eligible if you have a disabled child amount in your claim, whether you’re employed or not. You’ll also usually get cold weather payments if you get support for mortgage interest (SMI) and 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; or a child under five living with you.
How do I apply?
You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a cold weather payment, you’ll be paid it automatically. After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days, paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. Cold weather payments do not affect your other benefits, so you don't need to worry about losing those if you want to claim it.
If you get income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance and either you’ve had a baby or a child under five has come to live with you, you must tell Jobcentre Plus as you will not automatically get cold weather payments if you don't.
If you’re getting universal credit you can sign in to your account and add a note to your journal. If you do not have an online account, ring the Universal credit helpline instead on 0800 328 5644. To get the latest money news straight to your inbox, subscribe to our dedicated newsletter here.