What is the Cold Weather Payment and when is it issued?

Britain is facing a week of icy temperatures (Getty/iStock)
Britain is facing a week of icy temperatures (Getty/iStock)

The UK has endured a chilly start to December and matters are about to turn a whole lot worse as forecasters warn of a severe cold snap brought in by Arctic winds.

The country can expect to see sub-zero temperatures in the daytime and at night, according to the Met Office, and snowy conditions on higher ground for much of the next week.

While this might ordinarily be cause for excitement, this winter many remain embroiled in a brutal cost of living crisis, prompting many households to think twice before switching the central heating on because average energy bills have doubled in a year, even after the government intervened to freeze Ofgem’s energy price cap at £2,500.

Meanwhile, the UK rate of inflation stands at a whopping 11.1 per cent, food prices have rocketed, the Bank of England has set interest rates at 3 per cent and Jeremy Hunt delivered a bleak Autumn Statement introducing a package of tax rises worth £24bn and spending cuts of £30bn.

However, there are government support payments going out in December too, from the latest instalment of the energy bills discount scheme to a special payout for pensioners.

One of the most interesting of these is the Cold Weather Payment scheme.

This was reintroduced from 1 November and runs until 31 March 2023 and grants £25 to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on low incomes every time the weather in their area is, or is forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days.

The money will be paid (depending on the severity of the winter weather) to anyone registered with the Department for Work and Pensions to receive one of the following qualifying benefits payments:

  • Pension credit

  • Income support

  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance

  • Income-related employment and support allowance

  • Universal credit

  • Support for mortgage interest

Once a payment has been approved for a given seven-day period, the money will be paid out automatically within 14 days to the same account at which you receive your benefits. There is no need to apply.

You can check whether one is upcoming in your area here by entering a postcode.

If you think you should have received the payment and have not, you are advised to contact the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with your benefits or the Pension Service.

While Scottish residents are not eligible for the scheme, they are entitled to an annual Winter Heating Payment of £50 instead, which is paid regardless of the weather and which you can find out more about here.

You can find further information on the Cold Weather Payment scheme here, more on other government support payments being issued in December here and the revised schedule for state pensions and benefits payouts here.

The Independent also has a guide for how to insulate your home cheaply this winter here and has covered advice from TV money-saving expert Martin Lewis extensively, most recently his thoughts on the cost-effectiveness of plug-in surface top appliances compared to ovens and tumble dryers.