Cold Weather Payments: Guide to government-run scheme
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Cold Weather Payments of £25 are paid out every time the temperature drops, or is predicted to fall, to zero degrees for seven days in a row. It could be a lifeline for people on a low income. Here’s how you can check whether your area has been cold enough to qualify.
Pensioners and Britons on a low income are being reminded to check that they are getting all the financial help they are entitled to.
With January and February typically some of the coldest winter months in the UK, it’s a good time to find out if any Cold Weather Payments are due for their area.
These payments of £25 are automatically made to people on low incomes and the most vulnerable in society to help them heat their homes without worrying about huge bills.
As living costs rise amid soaring energy prices this year it could be more welcome than most.
Four million of the lowest paid Britons are eligible for this extra support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The scheme, which opens on November 1, paid out almost £100million in Cold Weather Payments last year.
Cold Weather Payments are usually awarded to people on Pension Credit, Universal Credit and income based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
They should be made automatically, but people can check in advance if their area is due a payment via the online tool on the government website.
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To check, people can input their postcode to see if any payments are due.
After a cold snap it shouldn’t take longer than two weeks to receive the money which is paid directly into an individual’s bank account.
If people haven’t received it by then they should contact the benefits office.
Britons on Universal Credit can pop a note in their journal or speak to their work coach.
Could I be due a Cold Weather Payment?
People on Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance usually qualify for the help and will be paid automatically.
However, people could be eligible this year if they have had a change in circumstance.
Britons should speak to their benefits advisor if they think they should have received a Cold Weather Payment but haven’t.
What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea
Those on Universal Credit could contact the helpline on 0800 328 9344 instead.
Meanwhile in Scotland, ministers are discussing proposals to introduce a Low Income Winter Heating Assistance scheme.
This would mean everyone on income-related benefits would automatically receive £50 every winter.
MPs think this would be fairer as they wouldn’t be waiting to see if it had been cold enough.
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