The UK’s freezing weather means some households are eligible for cold weather payments.
But what are they and who can receive one?
Here the PA news agency answers key questions about them.
– What is a cold weather payment?
Cold weather payments are made to vulnerable people, including pensioners, in England and Wales to help them pay for heating when the temperature dips below freezing.
– Who can get one?
It goes to those living in an area where the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.
– What areas have been triggered?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says they have most recently been triggered across parts of north-east England, Cumbria, west Wales and Oxfordshire.
– How can I check if my area is eligible?
People can visit coldweatherpayments.dwp.gov.uk online to check.
– Who is eligible?
You may get cold weather payments if you’re receiving:
– Pension credit
– Income support
– Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
– Income-related employment and support allowance
– Universal credit
– Support for mortgage interest
– How much can you get?
People get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31.
– How can you get one?
Those eligible do not need to apply; it will be paid automatically.
– When do you get paid?
The bank top-up will be in eligible people’s bank accounts within 14 days of the trigger.
– Does this affect my benefits?
Cold weather payments do not affect other benefits.
– What if I am in hospital?
Those in hospital should tell the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus as this could affect their payment.
– What if I live in Scotland?
Scots cannot get the payment.
In Scotland, people on benefits or low incomes may qualify for an annual £50 winter heating payment, though this is made irrespective of cold temperatures.
– What if I do not receive my payment?
People are advised to tell the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus.
Those getting universal credit should sign in to their account and add a note to the journal.
– How do I challenge a cold weather payment decision?
According to charity Turn2us, the DWP’s decision on a person’s payment claim can be challenged.
If the decision remains, they can appeal to an independent tribunal.
It says the time limits are strict, with a one-month window to dispute a decision.
– What other payments can I get?
If a person was born before September 26 1956 and are eligible, they could get between £250-600 to help pay their heating bills.
There is also the warm home discount scheme, in which a person gets £150 off their electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023.
– What has the DWP said?
A spokesman said: “These additional payments provide support every year to help people experiencing the coldest weather.
“Cold weather payments can be triggered right through to the end of March, giving people facing disproportionately cold weather that extra reassurance over the chillier months.”