COLD weather payments could give many low income families an extra boost as they battle freezing temperatures this winter.
It could mean an extra £25 to go towards energy bills that are already rocketing in price right now.
To make things worse, Brits have already been experiencing below 0C temperatures, having seen snow in some areas this week.
With the months to come, temperatures could only get colder.
But some households on certain benefits will want to keep an eye on their thermostats in case they become eligible for a cold weather payment.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is the cold weather payment?
Brits are entitled to an extra £25 to help heat their home when the temperature in their area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees or below for seven consecutive days on average.
As the weather needs to be freezing for seven consecutive days, you won’t be entitled to the extra money if it was zero degrees or below on just one day.
So just because it was below zero where you live over the weekend, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the payment.
It could be worth keeping an eye on your local weather though to make sure you don't miss out if it is cold enough for the required period.
You can check if your area has had a cold weather payment by popping your postcode into the government's tool.
If you’re eligible, you should receive payments within 14 working days.
This year’s cold weather payment scheme is already open as it started November 1, but a large proportion of postcodes aren't running payments yet.
The past week is the first time we've started to see temperatures drastically dip anyway, so it's likely the payments won't be redeemable until a little later in the scheme's roll-out.
The scheme continues until March 31, 2022 though, so there is still ample time for temperatures to drop further and more postcodes be eligible to claim.
Who is eligible for a cold weather payment?
You’re eligible for the cold weather payment scheme if you’re in receipt of one of the following benefits and meet certain criteria:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for mortgage interest
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also need to meet one or more of the following additional criteria:
- Have a disability or be in receipt of pension premium
- Have a child who is disabled
- Be in receipt of child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- Have a severe or enhanced disability premium
- Be in receipt of a limited capability for work amount
- Have a child under five living with you
Regardless of employment, Universal Credit claimants are eligible if they have a disabled child amount in their claim.You can find out more about eligibility on the government's website.
How do you apply for the cold weather payment?
The cold weather payment is paid automatically, so you don't need to apply for it.
If you don’t receive a payment and believe you’re eligible then you can tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office, or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
If you’re getting Universal Credit, you can also sign in to your account and add a note to your journal.
If you go into hospital, this could affect your claim so make sure you tell someone using the contact details above.
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