UK Cold Weather Payment: Eligibility, Claim & More

Cold weather payment

As the winter months approach, the weather in the UK can become particularly harsh and unforgiving, with plummeting temperatures and icy conditions making life difficult for many. For some, the financial burden of keeping their homes warm can be a significant worry.

That's where the Cold Weather Payment comes in. This scheme, run by the UK government, is designed to provide financial assistance to those who may struggle to heat their homes during cold spells.

In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about the Cold Weather Payment scheme, including how it works, who is eligible, and how to claim.

What is cold weather payment?

The Cold Weather Payment is a UK government scheme that provides money to low-income households to help with the extra heating costs during the winter. The payments are made automatically to eligible households when the average temperature in their area falls below zero degrees Celsius for over seven consecutive days.

If you're eligible for the Cold Weather Payment, you'll receive £25 every seven days of cold weather. The payments are made directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.

The Cold Weather Payment differs from the Winter Fuel Payment, a one-off payment made to eligible households to help with their heating costs.

What are the eligibility criteria for the cold weather payment?

If you receive the following criteria, you may qualify for Cold Weather Payments:

Each benefit's eligibility details are as follows:

Pension Credit

You'll usually get Cold Weather Payments when you get Pension Credit.

Income Support and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

When you receive Income Support or income-based Jobseekers Allowance and have any of the following:

  • A disability or pensioner premium
  • A child who's disabled
  • Disabled or  severe disability element and child tax credit
  • Living with a child under 5

Universal Credit Claim

People who get Universal Credit and aren't employed or self-employed usually get Cold Weather Payments. It is essential that you meet the following requirements:

  • You have a disability or health condition and cannot work (either working or not working).
  • At home, there is a baby or a young child under five.
  • The amount you claim for a disabled child is the same regardless of whether you have a job.

It will also be provided if you receive Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance; and if you qualify for any of the following:

  • You've had a baby.
  • Children under five live with you.

You must inform Jobcentre Plus. You won't be eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you do not.

Do I qualify for a cold-weather payment?

The Cold Weather Payment is not available in Scotland. Winter Heating Assistance might instead be available to you.

Pension Credit claimants who do not live in care homes may qualify for a Cold Weather Payment.

Alternatively, suppose you do not live in a care home and claim Income Support. In that case, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or Universal Credit and one of these statements apply, you may also qualify:

  • You get an extra benefit (a premium) for having a disability or being over the state pension age.
  • You have a child under five (if you get Universal Credit, you must not be working)
  • You get an extra amount for the disability of your disabled child when you get a Child Tax Credit
  • The Universal Credit you receive includes an element for not working
  • Having limited capabilities for work-related activities
  • Work Capacity Limited, or
  • a disabled child

How much cold weather payment will I get?

freezing temperatures

During the period 1 November - 31 March, in case of prolonged periods of very cold weather, you will receive £25.00 for each seven day period. Payment will be made if the average temperature in your area is zero degrees Celsius or below for seven days straight.

Cold Weather Payment and other benefits

A Cold Weather Payment will not affect other benefits and tax credits.

What if I am eligible for the Cold Weather Payment but have yet to receive it automatically?

If you believe you are eligible for the Cold Weather Payment but have not received it, you should take the following steps: 

  • If applicable, speak with your pension centre
  • If you are eligible, contact your local Jobcentre Plus

You should add a note to your journal if you receive Universal Credit but have yet to receive the Cold Weather Payment. You will then be contacted by someone who will help you resolve the issue.

You only need a Universal Credit account if you have one. You can claim Universal Credit by calling the Universal Credit helpline. 

How do I claim a cold weather payment?

Cold Weather Payments will automatically be sent to you if you qualify. It is not necessary to file a claim.

Those who still need to be pension age may contact their Pension helpline (if they are over pension age) or their Jobcentre Plus office (if they are under pension age). You can keep a journal if you get Universal Credit. 


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How can I challenge a decision on cold weather payments?

You usually have the right to ask for your claim to be reviewed if you disagree with the decision. This is called a 'mandatory reconsideration'. The DWP will review this decision again. In either case, the decision will remain the same, or it will be changed. An independent tribunal can be consulted if you disagree with the decision.

If you wish to dispute a decision, you usually have one month, so seeking advice and acting quickly is key.

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

Winter fuel payments are explicitly paid to pensioners. The Winter Fuel Payment is available to everyone over the national retirement age, regardless of weather conditions. A winter fuel payment is calculated based on your age and whether you live alone.

Cold Weather Payments, however, aren't age-related. Instead, its eligibility depends on the type of certain benefits you receive.

When does the Cold Weather Payment Scheme run?

Cold Weather Payments are made each year between 1 November and 31 March. Check the government website for updated payment details or additional information.

Carin Vreede

Written by:

Carin Vreede

With years of experience in the HR field, Carin has a lot of experience with HR processes. As a content marketer, she translates this knowledge into engaging and informative content that helps companies optimize their HR processes and motivate and develop their employees.


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