Updated on 20 May 2015.
If you are eligible for a Cold Weather Payment, this could help cushion the impact when temperatures plummet below freezing.
Cold Weather Payments are granted during periods of extreme cold to help people on low incomes heat their homes. They are paid in the form of £25 credits on top of existing benefits each week that temperatures fall below freezing.
If you currently receive pension credit then it's likely you will be eligible for a cold weather payment.
If you claim income support or job seekers allowance you will receive a cold weather payment if:
If you are paid income related employment and support allowance (ESA) then you will receive a cold weather payment if:
For more information on who qualifies for Cold Weather payments visit the Direct Gov website.
You don't need to apply directly for a Cold Weather Payment as - providing you're eligible - they will be paid automatically when temperatures in your area are forecast to or fall below 0degC for more than 7 days in a row between the 1st November and 31st March each winter.
The government has set up weather stations across the UK to measure temperatures and monitor when Cold Weather Payments should be made.
For each 7 day period of cold weather, those who qualify will receive a one off payment of £25 within 14 working days. This is paid into the same account where other benefits such as pension credit and job seekers allowance are credited.
Cold Winter Payments will not affect any other benefit payments you receive and are not taxable. If you believe you should have received a payment but didn't you will need to contact your pension centre or Jobcentre plus office.
Winter fuel payments are made to help people over the age of sixty with the cost of heating their home and are often confused with cold weather payments.
You can find out exactly what they are and if you're eligible by reading our article on Winter Fuel Payments.
Written by Martin at money.co.uk
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