The Cold Weather Payment is available during periods of cold weather. Many households in the UK live in fuel poverty.
During the winter, it can become a real struggle to pay energy bills and the worst off will have to decide between heating or eating.
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What is the Cold Weather Payment?
The Cold Weather Payment is one of the grants available to some households in the winter to help with heating bills.
It applies between 1 November and 31 March, and kicks in if the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row.
For each seven-day period of freezing temperatures, eligible households receive £25.
Do I qualify for the Cold Weather Payment?
You could qualify for the Cold Weather Payment if you get one of the following benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
The Government has a webpage which tells you more about who is and isn’t eligible.
How do I check whether a Cold Weather Payment is due?
The DWP have a Cold Weather Payment checker. Just tap in the first half of your postcode and it’ll tell you how many seven-day periods of cold weather there have been in your area.
How does the Cold Weather Payment work?
The payment should be paid automatically into the same bank account you get your benefit paid into. You’ll get the payment within 14 working days of the period of very cold weather.
If you’re expecting to get a payment and don’t get one, then get in touch with your pension centre, Jobcentre Plus office, or Universal Credit online account or helpline.
More help with energy bills?
There’s a range of benefits to help people struggling with energy costs, especially in wintertime. These include:
- The Warm Home Discount – a one-off discount of £140 to the energy bills for the most vulnerable households living in fuel poverty
- The Winter Fuel Payment – paid to those over the age of 65 who qualify depending on their circumstances
- Energy efficiency grants – they pay for insulation and other improvements to your home if you qualify for them.
Other ways to save on heating costs
If you can’t get any of the grants and subsidies available to the poorest households, there are still many ways to bring down your energy bills in the wintertime.
The best way is to stop heat leaving your home in the first place. Insulation and draught proofing help your home keep in the heat – check areas around doors and windows which might let in cold air.
Chimney flues and letterboxes are other culprits and can be easily fixed. Your local DIY store will have lots of draught-proofing materials which are easy to install.
Even a simple draught excluder can have a significant impact in reducing heat loss.
Read more: How to make your home energy efficient
Switch energy provider
Of course, you should also make sure you’re paying as little for your energy as possible. If you’re on your energy suppliers’ standard tariff, you might be able to save hundreds of pounds by switching your energy provider.
Even if you’ve switched in the past, it’s worth checking every 6 months or so to see if there’s a better deal out there.
You can switch as many times as you like, and it takes less than 5 minutes to find out if you can save.
Get a quote today to see if you can save money on the gas and electricity you use.