What is the Cold Weather Payment?

Find out what the Cold Weather Payment is, whether you’re eligible to receive it, and when it’s triggered. Also discover how to use the Cold Weather Payment checker to see if you’re owed money.

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Cold Weather Payments are designed to help vulnerable and poor people cope with the extra heating demands during periods of very cold weather. It runs from 1 November to 31 March each year. 

Very cold weather is a period of 7 days when the average temperature is forecast to be or recorded as 0° C or less. When this happens, those eligible for the Cold Weather Payment will receive £25. You will receive this payment each time the average temperature stays at zero or below for 7 consecutive days. This means you may be paid more than once during the qualifying period.

Note: Cold Weather Payments are only available to those living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Scotland administers a different scheme called the Winter Heating Payment. This is a single payment of £55.05 that is paid automatically to those on low-income benefits regardless of the weather conditions.

You may be eligible to receive Cold Weather Payments if you receive 1 of the following low-income support packages:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • JSA (Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance)
  • ESA (Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • SMI (Support for Mortgage Interest)

You shouldn’t need to apply for Cold Weather Payments. If you qualify for the payment, you’ll be paid automatically. Note, if you have a baby or a child under 5 comes to live with you, make sure you tell the Jobcentre Plus if you receive Income Support, JSA or ESA. If you don’t, you won’t automatically receive the payments.

If your area has a 7-day period of very cold weather, you should expect to receive £25 within 14 working days. It’ll be paid automatically into the same account as your other benefits.

In Scotland, the £55.05 payment was made during December 2023 and January 2024. You should have received a letter from Social Security Scotland beforehand confirming your eligibility for the payment.

What areas are getting Cold Weather Payments?

You can check to see if your area is due a Cold Weather Payment by using the government’s Cold Weather Payment postcode checker. Enter the first half of your postcode (such as CO1) and click Continue. You’ll see how many payments you should have received so far, along with the dates the payments are for.

In 2023-24, the payment was triggered in 373 individual postcodes.

First, use the cold weather payment checker for the UK to confirm your postcode was eligible for a payment. Then inform the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus if you believe you should have received a Cold Weather Payment, but nothing’s been paid into your account. Those on Universal Credit should sign into their account and add a note to their journal, or phone the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Yes, you can get further help from the government as well as your energy supplier and other organisations. If you’re struggling with energy bills, look out for:

  • Government help: You may also be eligible for the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment. In addition, you may be able to get extra help from your local council.
  • Help from your supplier: Many of the biggest suppliers offer hardship funds to those struggling with energy debt.
  • Ways to improve energy efficiency: There are many schemes available designed to help cover some of the cost of insulating your home to reduce your energy usage.
  • Other help: You may be able to get fuel vouchers to keep your prepayment meter topped up. You can also get help from charities and Citizens Advice.Find out more about these options with our comprehensive guide to getting help with your energy bills.

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