How to apply for cold weather payment – the key steps

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Cold Weather Payments: Guide to government-run scheme

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Cold weather payments can help people handle the burden of fuel costs during periods of very cold weather. They can be particularly beneficial for people during the freezing winter months. Below is a guide to check if you’re eligible and how you can apply for help.

What are cold weather payments?

Cold weather payments are cash sums which help pay fuel costs for people during spells of very cold weather.

The payments are made by the British government to recipients of certain state benefits.

For 2021 the UK cold weather scheme runs from November 1 to March 31.

How much do you receive?

If eligible you will receive £25 for every seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.

Payments should be made to your account within 14 days after each period of very cold weather in your local area.

People should also be aware that cold weather payments do not affect their other state benefits.

Are you eligible?

If you’re currently receiving any of the following state benefits you may be entitled to cold weather payments. These are as follows:

  • Pension credit
  • Income support/income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Universal credit
  • Support for mortgage interest

Individuals who have recently had a baby or who live with a child under the age of five may also be eligible for cold weather payments.

This though will be dependent on whether that person receives income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related ESA.

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How do you apply?

For most people who receive any of the previously mentioned state benefits you should not have to apply.

Instead, your cold weather payments should be paid automatically to you.

However, if you do not automatically receive cold weather payments and believe you should be entitled it is advised you contact the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus.

Why were cold weather payments introduced?

Cold weather payments were originally introduced in 1988 to provide vulnerable people in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) with financial support during periods of very cold weather.

The year-to-year variability in weather, for the UK, means the government will occasionally have to pay out considerably larger sums.

As population density also changes significantly across the UK it could result in rising costs, for the government, if highly populated areas experience a cold spell.

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