The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reminded homeowners across the country that if they claim specific benefits, they could qualify for additional money to help them heat their homes through the end of March.
Cold Weather Payments, Warm Housing Discount and Winter Fuel Payments are schemes that can help offset the cost of heating bills for those who are eligible.
So far this winter, 13,000 Cold Weather Payments have been sent to people in 25 Scottish postcodes due to temperatures dropping below freezing.
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When the average temperature reaches, or is forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for a period of seven consecutive days, households in the affected postcodes get an automatic £25 top-up.
Last winter, between November 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, the UK government issued nearly £100 million in cold weather payments, the Daily Record reported.
The 25 zip codes that have activated Cold Weather Payments so far this winter are:
- IV 15
Speaking about the scheme, DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said: “These additional payments provide support each year to help people experiencing the coldest weather, without anyone having to lift a finger.
“Cold Weather Payments can be activated through the end of March, giving people facing disproportionately cold weather that extra piece of mind during the colder months.”
What is Cold Weather Pay?
Low-income households applying for specific benefits will get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between now and 31 March 2021.
After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should receive a payment within 14 business days. It is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.
It is important to note that cold weather payments have no effect on other benefits you may be able to claim.
Who is eligible for Cold Weather Payments?
You may be eligible for cold weather payments if you are receiving:
Income-Based Job Seeker Allowance
Earnings Related Employment and Support Allowance
Mortgage Interest Support
You can read the full eligibility details for each of these on the GOV.UK website here.
How to claim cold weather payments
You do not need to manually apply for Cold Weather Payments
Rather, if you are eligible, you will be paid automatically.
Find out more about cold weather payments on the GOV.UK website here.
Other help available with rising energy bills
Winter Fuel Payment
Those born on or before September 26, 1955 may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, which is a sum of between £100 and £300 to help with heating costs.
You do not need to claim it and the winter fuel payment will be made automatically to your provider if you are eligible.
You will automatically receive support if:
- Receive State Pension
- Get another social security benefit, other than the housing benefit, municipal tax abatement, child benefit, or universal credit
If you don’t get any of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to file a claim.
Those who have received the Winter Fuel Pass in the past do not need to claim again unless they have deferred their State Pension or have moved abroad.
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Winter Fuel Payment Eligibility
You qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment if both of the following conditions apply:
- You were born on or before September 26, 1955
- You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 20-26, 2021; this is called a “qualifying week”.
The deadline for you to file a claim for winter 2021-2022 is March 31, 2022.
how much will you get
The amount you will receive depends on your circumstances in the qualifying week.
Any money given is tax-free and will have no bearing on any other benefits you may receive.
You can find out how much you’ll receive on GOV.UK’s dedicated pages here.
when are they going to pay you
Payments are usually automatically transferred in November or December, and should have been transferred by January 14.
All payments are made into the account where your benefits are usually made.
If the money has not yet been credited to your account, please contact the Winter Fuel Payment Center here.
How to make a claim
If you have not received a winter fuel payment before, you only need to claim if any of the following apply:
- Does not receive benefits or State Pension
- You only get the housing allowance, council tax relief, child allowance or universal credit
- You get benefits or a state pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country
If you received a winter fuel payment before, you only need to claim if since your last payment you have:
- You deferred your State Pension
- You moved to Switzerland or an EEA country
Who doesn’t qualify?
You will not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment if:
- They are in the hospital receiving free treatment for more than a year.
- You need permission to enter the UK and your granted license states that you cannot claim public funds
- He was in prison the entire week of September 20-26, 2021
- Lived in a nursing home for the entire time from June 28 to September 26, 2021, and got Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), or Support Allowance and income-related employment (ESA)
Warm Home Discount
You may also be eligible to save £140 on your winter electricity bill as part of the Warm Home Discount Programme, which launched in October.
It is important to note that this money is not transferred to your bank account, but is a one-time discount on your electricity bill between October and March 2022.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill if you get gas and electricity from your provider, but you’ll need to contact them to find out.
The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
Am I eligible?
There are two ways to qualify for the Warm Home discount program:
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Program depends on how you qualify for the discount.
Prepaid or prepaid meters
You may still qualify for the discount if you use a prepaid or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
Your electricity provider can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example it could be a coupon you can use to top up your meter.
How to apply
Your electricity provider decides who can get the discount.
The number of discounts providers can offer is limited. Check with your provider as soon as possible to see if you are eligible and how to apply; check with them even if you were eligible for a discount last year.
Your electricity provider will apply the discount to your bill before March 31, 2022.
To see the full list of participating energy providers, visit the dedicated page on the GOV.UK website here.
This page also has details about what will happen if you qualify, but your energy provider no longer operates.