Pensioners could get extra payment during very cold weather – but one million miss out

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Martin Lewis warns of the threat of unaffordable energy bills

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A person qualifies for a Cold Weather Payment if they are claiming Pension Credit and do not live in a care home. Pension Credit is a tax-free, means-tested benefit for people over state pension age who are on a low income and need help with living costs.

State pension age is currently set at 66, but it’s due to rise.

Two further increases are set out in Government legislation: a gradual rise to 67 for those born on or after April 1960 and a gradual rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046 for those born on or after April 1977.

Eligible pensioners can receive a Cold Weather Payment of £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather.

Payments are made if the average temperature in an area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from November 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

It largely helps with fuel costs.

Pensioners can thus receive Cold Weather Payments ahead of the freezing weather and be reassured that they have the additional money to afford extra heating.

People do not need to apply.

If they are eligible, they’ll be paid it automatically.

Cold Weather Payments do not affect other benefits.

After each period of very cold weather in an area, a person will receive a payment within 14 working days.

It’s paid into the same bank or building society account where the respective benefit payments are made.

It’s important to inform the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus upon being admitted into a hospital as this could affect the payment.

If a person objects to a decision made about whether they qualify for a Cold Weather Payment, they can usually enter a formal process known as mandatory reconsideration.

If they still disagree with the further decision, it is possible to appeal this via an independent tribunal.

There has been an estimated 13,000 payments so far this winter, paid to around 11,000 eligible claimants.

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The social protection scheme was set up in 1988 in order to support vulnerable individuals in the UK (excluding Northern Island) with financial support.

Both forecast and observed temperatures from weather stations are used to determine which postcodes are eligible for payment.

Year-to-year weather variability means that some seasons could potentially have larger payouts than others.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offers a free service where people can check to see if their postcode meets the criteria for a Cold Weather Payment.

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