People on the lowest incomes in hundreds of affected postcode districts will receive a £25 cold weather payment due to the freezing conditions.
The Government payments have been triggered for eligible households in areas where the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.
The Met Office has warned that temperatures “falling close to minus 10C” could be recorded in rural parts of the UK on Thursday.
The bank top-up of £25 will be in eligible people’s bank account within 14 days of the trigger, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
People claiming pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, universal credit and support for mortgage interest could be eligible for the cold weather payments, DWP guidance says.
It said cold weather payments have been triggered in areas across the North West, including in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in parts of the South West, such as near Exeter, and in Nottingham in the East Midlands, among others.
Parts of Powys in east-central Wales, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire, also have affected postcodes.
The cold weather payments are only paid in England and Wales.
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.
It comes as weather warnings have been extended into the weekend as drivers have been warned of dangers on the roads in parts of the UK.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a Level 3 cold weather alert covering England until Monday.
The Met Office has warned motorists that wintry showers will create hazardous, icy patches on some roads over the coming days during the cold snap.
The forecaster has extended Thursday’s yellow weather warning for snow and ice in Northern Scotland until 12pm on Sunday.
It comes after thundersnow, a phenomenon when thunderstorms form in wintry conditions and sometimes give rise to heavy snow downpours, was observed in Scotland on Thursday, it said.
Yellow warnings for ice in coastal and northern England and parts of Wales and Northern Ireland have also been issued for Friday.
The icy conditions in coastal England and parts of Northern Ireland and Wales are expected to continue into Saturday, it has warned.
It said some disruption is likely, with icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths likely to cause disruption.
Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces are also likely, it has said.
The Met Office has urged people to take extra care when driving or walking and to consider not cycling in the icy areas.
A DWP 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.”