The Cold Weather Payment: Am I eligible? And how do I apply?
If you’re struggling with your gas and electricity bills in winter, there are a number of Government schemes that could help.
The most popular is the Warm Home Discount, but there are others worth knowing about.
In this guide, we look at The Cold Weather Payment, a handy support net if temperatures plummet.
By the end of this guide you will know what it is, whether you’re eligible and how to apply.
What is The Cold Weather Payment?
The Cold Weather Payment, as you’ve probably worked out, is a grant for when the weather gets really, really cold.
No, your neighbourhood doesn't have to turn into Narnia, but if the temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven straight days, you might be able to get financial support.
Eligible homes (more on this later) can get a payment of £25 for each week of icy cold weather between the grant’s running dates: November 1 2016 to March 31 2017.
Payments should be delivered within 14 working days to the same bank or building society as benefits payments (don't worry, your benefits will not be affected).
Am I eligible for The Cold Weather Payment?
So, if you can see your breath in front of your face, and are going to bed wearing a woolly hat, how do you know whether you’re due Cold Weather Payments?
Well, to access the grant you must receive one of the following benefits:
* Pension Credit
* Income Support
* Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance – only available to those who also receive a disability or pensioner premium, child tax credits or have a child under 5 living with them.
* Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – you must also have one of the following: the support or work-related component of ESA; a severe or enhanced disability premium; a pensioner premium; a child who is disabled; Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element or a child under 5 living with you
* Universal Credit – provided you’re not employed or self-employed and one of the following applies: you get a limited capability for work element, you have a disabled child or child under five living with you. If you have a disabled child element in your claim, whether you are employed or not, you should receive Cold Weather Payments
Check whether your area is set to receive Cold Weather Payments using the Government’s postcode tool.
When the cold weather sets in, it's important to know what support is available
How do I claim Cold Weather Payments?
In theory, you shouldn’t need to apply at all; you should be paid automatically.
But if you have a baby or a child under 5 moves in to your home, it's important you tell Jobcentre Plus immediately if you also get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Otherwise the payment won’t be applied.
What do I do if the Government hasn’t paid me my Cold Weather Payment?
Universal Credit claimants can contact the helpline on 0345 600 0723.
If you are admitted to hospital, tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus immediately as this could impact your payment.
For Universal Credit claimants, call the helpline above.
Are there any other ways I can save money on heating?
The biggest way, as ever, to slash your fuel bill is to switch energy provider.
On average, A Spokesman Said users save £400 moving to a new supplier.
But there’s also a heap of DIY energy-saving steps you can take; from better installation to bleeding radiators, it’s all in our guide.