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Cold Weather Payments

We take a look at what Cold Weather Payments are, who’s eligible to receive them and other ways to keep energy costs low.

We take a look at what Cold Weather Payments are, who’s eligible to receive them and other ways to keep energy costs low.

Written by
Dan Tremain
Energy and business energy expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Personal finance expert
Last Updated
22 APRIL 2024
4 min read
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What are Cold Weather Payments?

The government makes Cold Weather Payments to some UK residents to help cover the costs of heating their home for periods of extremely cold weather. Those who qualify receive £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November 2024 and 31 March 2025.

Am I eligible to get Cold Weather Payments?

You could be eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting Pension Credit, Income Support, Universal Credit, Support for Mortgage Interest, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance and/or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance.

There are exclusions or additional requirements though. For example, you may need to also have (depending on the benefit you receive):

  • A disability or pensioner premium
  • A child who is disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • A child under five living with you.

So it’s important to check the GOV.UK website, or nidirect if you’re in Northern Ireland, for details.

You can’t get Cold Weather Payments if you live in Scotland, but you might get an annual Winter Heating Payment of £55.05 in total for the winter of 2023/24 instead. It’s designed to help people on low income benefits who might have extra heating needs. If you’re eligible, you’ll get this payment regardless of weather conditions in your area.

How do I claim a Cold Weather Payment?

In most cases, there’s no need to apply for Cold Weather Payments. If you qualify, you should receive them automatically at the relevant time.

The exception is if you get Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance and you’ve recently had a baby – or a child under the age of five has come to live with you. In this instance, you’ll need to notify Jobcentre Plus of your change in situation so you can request Cold Weather Payments.

If you think you’re entitled to the Cold Weather Payment but haven’t received it, you should tell the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus. Or if you’re getting Universal Credit, sign in to your account and add a note to your journal.

How much Cold Weather Payment will I get?

You’ll get your payment of £25 approximately two weeks after each spell of cold weather.

How will I receive my Cold Weather Payments?

Your payment will be paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefits.

How can I challenge a Cold Weather Payment decision?

If you’re sure you qualify but haven’t received your payments, the first step is to get in touch with Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service or log into your online Universal Credit account. If you haven’t got an online account, you can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

You can ask for a decision on your claim to be looked at again if you disagree with it. If you still disagree with the decision, you can take your claim to an independent tribunal. You’ll usually need to dispute the decision within one month.

How can I save money on energy costs?

You might also consider applying for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which can give you a one-off discount on your winter electricity bill.

Installing insulation and taking measures to minimise heat loss can add up to significant savings over time, although there’ll be an up-front cost.

For example, if you have an immersion heater or hot water cylinder, adding an insulating jacket can save you money. Blocking up gaps around doors and windows can stop heat seeping out and cold air coming in.

Likewise, if you have an open chimney and aren’t using your fire, using a chimney draught excluder can save you money longer term. Just remember to remove it if you light a fire. More permanent chimney caps can also save money, but cost more to install.

Take a look at our list of more ways to reduce your energy use in our energy saving tips.

Frequently asked questions

How will I know if it’s cold enough to receive Cold Weather Payments?

Cold Weather Payments only come into effect when the weather is, or is forecast to be, below zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days or more, between 1 November and 31 March each year. You can check the GOV.UK website to see if a payment is due in your area in England and Wales or check nidirect for Northern Ireland.

What’s the difference between Cold Weather Payments and the Winter Fuel Payment?

Cold Weather Payments are £25 payments paid approximately two weeks after a cold spell, if you meet the eligibility criteria.

The Winter Fuel Payment is paid as a lump sum of £100-£300 if you’re born before 26 September 1957 and you meet the eligibility criteria for it. This date updates every year to take account of people reaching pension age. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. See more on the Winter Fuel Payment.

Will Cold Weather Payments affect my other benefits?

No. Your existing benefits won’t change if you start receiving Cold Weather Payments.

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