Temperatures have started dipping across the country and the Met Office is forecasting snow for parts of Scotland by the end of November, which means many Scots could be eligible for a £25 payment to help heat their home this winter.
The Cold Weather Payment is a UK Government subsidy of £25 delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to households on a low income, receiving certain qualifying benefits. The payment is made for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31, 2022.
Payments are triggered by data collected by the Met Office from 94 weather stations around the UK – you can check if your area is due a payment on the GOV.UK website here.
Here is everything you need to know about Cold Wether Payments including who qualifies and how payments are made.
What is the Cold Weather Payment?
People on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits can claim the £25 Cold Weather Payment to help with heating costs when the temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, colder than zero degrees Celsius across seven consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather from now until March 31, 2021.
After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days. It’s paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.
It’s also worth noting that Cold Weather Payments do not affect your other benefits.
Who is eligible for Cold Weather Payments?
You may be eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Support for Mortgage Interest
You can read the full details for eligibility for each of these on the GOV.UK website here.
How to claim Cold Weather Payments
You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid automatically.
Find out more about Cold Weather Payments on the GOV.UK website here.
Other help available with winter energy bills
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before September 26, 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills – this is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
You do not need to claim it and the Winter Fuel Payment will be made automatically to your supplier if you are eligible.
You will automatically receive the support if you:
- Receive State Pension
- Get another social security benefit – not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to make a claim.
If you have received a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension or moved abroad.
Eligibility for Winter Fuel Payment
You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both the following apply:
- You were born on or before September 26, 1955
- You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 20 to 26 September 2021 – this is called the ‘qualifying week’
The deadline for you to make a claim for winter 2021 to 2022 is March 31, 2022.
How much you will get
How much you get depends on your circumstances during the qualifying week. Any money you get is tax-free and will not affect your other benefits.
You can find out how much you will receive on the dedicated GOV.UK pages here.
When you will get paid
Most payments are made automatically in November or December.
You will get a letter telling you how much you will receive and an estimated payment date.
If the money is not paid into your account by January 14, 2022 contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre here.
All payments are paid into the account where your benefits are usually made.
How to make a claim
If you have not received a Winter Fuel Payment before, you only need to claim if any of the following apply:
- You do not get benefits or a State Pension
- You only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
- You get benefits or a State Pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country
If you have got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you only need to claim if since your last payment you have either:
- Deferred your State Pension
- Moved to Switzerland or an EEA country
Who does not qualify?
You will not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment if you:
- Are in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
- Need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you cannot claim public funds
- Were in prison for the whole week from 20 to 26 September 2021
- Lived in a care home for the whole time from 28 June to 26 September 2021, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Warm Home Discount
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme which opened on October 18, 2021.
The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March, 2022.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity – contact your supplier to find out.
The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
Am I eligible?
There are two ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount.
Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters
You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
Your electricity supplier can tell you how you will get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
How to apply
Your electricity supplier decides who can get the discount.
The number of discounts suppliers can give is limited. Check with your supplier as early as possible to see if you’re eligible and how to apply – check with them even if you were eligible for a discount last year.
Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill by March 31, 2022.
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Only British Gas, E.on and Scottish Power have confirmed they are participating this year, however, the energy firms listed below took part of the scheme during winter 2020 to 2021:
- Affect Energy
- Bristol Energy – only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group’
- British Gas
- British Gas Evolve (formerly British Gas X)
- Bulb Energy
- Co-op Energy
- E (Gas and Electricity)
- Ecotricity – only if you’re eligible for the ‘core group’
- EDF Energy
- Green Energy UK (GEUK)
- Green Star Energy
- iSupply Energy
- London Power
- Lumo – see OVO
- M&S Energy
- nPower Select
- Octopus Energy
- Pure Planet
- Qwest Energy
- Roar Power
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Hydro
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Southern Electric
- Tonik Energy
- Utility Warehouse
MoneySavingExpert.c0m has a full guide to which energy supplier is open to applications or when they are expected to do so – find out more here.
For more information about the Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2021/22, visit the GOV.UK website here.
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