Cold comfort: millions to benefit from winter weather support

Posted on 01/11/2014 by

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Extra government help as the Cold Weather Payments season begins

coldAn estimated 4 million people are in line for extra government help this year to turn up the heating during the coldest snaps, as the Cold Weather Payments season begins today (1 November 2014).

Poorer pensioners and low-income households, which include disabled people or children under the age of 5, could be due a £25 Cold Weather Payment each time temperatures either dip below an average of zero degrees Celsius for 7 consecutive days, or are forecast to do so.

The latest figures show that more than £700 million has been paid out to vulnerable people under this scheme since 2010 through some 28 million separate payments.

The Westminster government’s permanent increase to £25 means that an additional £466 million has been paid out – 3 times the amount that would have been paid if Cold Weather Payments had remained at their previous rate of £8.50.

DWP Minister Steve Webb said: “It is vital that pensioners and vulnerable people are given extra help to turn up the thermostat and keep warm when temperatures plunge.

“This help, combined with the Winter Fuel Allowance and Warm Home Discount Scheme, is making a real difference to help the most vulnerable people in our society.

“In most cases, Cold Weather Payments are paid automatically to those eligible. But I urge anyone, especially older people who might be missing out on Pension Credit, to call us.”

There are up to 1.6 million pensioners who may be entitled to Pension Credit who are not currently claiming it and who could be eligible for Cold Weather Payment as a result.

Who qualifies?

Pensioners on Pension Credit will usually qualify for the scheme. Some people on other benefits may also qualify for a Cold Weather Payment, including:

Income Support
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Universal Credit

People can find out if they are due a Cold Weather Payment by calling

0800 99 1234

This number can also be used to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit without having to sign a form.

Find out more about Cold Weather Payments

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