Cold Weather Payments: Guide to government-run scheme
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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.
Households can thus receive Cold Weather Payments ahead of the freezing weather and be reassured that they have the additional money to afford extra heating.
More specifically, 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.
Year-to-year weather variability means that some seasons could potentially have larger pay-outs than others.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Those eligible get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather.
There has been an estimated 13,000 payments so far to around 11,000 eligible claimants this winter.
People do not need to apply.
If they are eligible, they’ll be paid it automatically.
But some may not get the payment unless they take action.
A person qualifies for a Cold Weather Payment if they are claiming Pension Credit and do not live in a care home.
Those who have had a baby or currently have a child under five living with them, are also eligible for a Cold Weather Payment.
However, they must inform the Pension Centre or Jobcentre Plus of this.
What’s more, people may be able to get it if they are claiming Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Support for Mortgage Interest or Universal Credit.
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 fourteen working days.
It’s paid into the same bank or building society account where the respective benefit payments are made.
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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.
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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