Cold Weather Payments: Guide to government-run scheme
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Temperatures have reached freezing in many parts of the UK, and are expected to drop even lower as the week goes on. Fuel use and bills are likely to rise, and with more people than ever staying inside due to the ongoing lockdown, those bills could rise to steep amounts. However, the good news is there is help on hand for some people in the form of Cold Weather Payments – here’s who can claim.
Can pensioners get cold weather payments?
Cold Weather Payments are a Government benefit top-up to help with fuel bills during times of exceptional cold weather.
In short, yes. Pensioners are able to get cold weather payments, but they are not exclusively available to pensioners and people claiming their pension must fulfil a series of requirements to claim.
These payments are not age-related, unlike the Winter Fuel Payments.
To qualify, you must already be eligible for one of five benefits and fulfil additional criteria.
Who can claim cold weather payments?
To claim the cold weather payments, you have to be getting one of these benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit – although there are certain exceptions
Each Cold Weather Payment is paid for a seven-day period and is worth £25 each time.
The scheme covers the period between November 1 and March 31 every year – prime time for the winter.
Hospital stays can affect payments, while benefit offices also want also will want to know if you’ve had a baby or if a child under five lives with you.
The average temperature has to be zero degrees – or less – for seven days in a row for the payments to be triggered.
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This temperature also has to be recorded by the weather station nearest to your postcode.
So far this year, there have been 58 cold weather triggers from the 95 weather stations in England, Scotland and Wales.
Northern Ireland has seven weather stations in it, which are used to trigger its cold weather payments.
In England, Scotland and Wales, 705,000 Cold Weather Payments have been made, while 341,000 in England, 305,000 in Scotland and 59,000 in Wales.
You can see whether you’re eligible for the payments by entering the first part of your postcode here.
The Winter Fuel Payment is a different benefit, and is just paid out to pensioners.
All 14million pensioners automatically receive that benefit, which is between £100 and £300, regardless of the weather conditions.
The Winter Fuel Payments are calculated according to age and whether or not you live alone.
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