Cold Weather Payments 2020

The Cold Weather Payment is not the same as payments made through the Winter Fuel Allowance. The temperature outside needs to be extremely cold to get Cold Weather Payments.

Note: The Winter Fuel Allowance is paid no matter what the temperature is – providing you qualify!

The payments may be available automatically if you are in the ‘low income’ group. Meaning, you should get a Cold Weather Payment (CWP) if you’re already getting one of the qualifying benefits.

Map of UK showing areas for Cold Weather Payment

So, what you need to check is whether the outside temperature in the United Kingdom is (either will qualify):

  • An average of zero degrees Celsius (or below) over a seven day period.
  • Below zero or FORECAST to be below zero degrees for seven (7) consecutive days.

It is quite easy to confirm if it has been zero or below for seven (7) days. But, measuring the ‘average’ temperature is not so simple.

Because of that, the government enlists the Meteorological Office to determine if there has been an average (or not)!

When is Cold Weather Payment Paid?

Cold Weather Payments start from the 1st of November each year and will end on the 31st of March the following year. But, any spells of severe coldness before or after these dates will not count.

Will you get the Cold Weather Payment? It starts on the 1st of November and ends on the 31st of March (next year).

After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within fourteen (14) working days. The money goes into the same bank or building society account as your regular benefit payments.

You must be living in one of the areas of the country that ‘trigger’ the payments during the chilly winter months. Some of the coldest areas will qualify. Whereas, others will not be cold enough (usually in the south)!

Who Gets Cold Weather Payments?

You should be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment if you are getting a low income. Of course, you must also live in a postal area where the temperature drops to freezing or below. It must also happen between the dates of November 1st and March 31st.

To qualify for the Cold Weather Payment you should already be getting (either):

Income Support and Income-based JSA

In most cases, you will get Cold Weather Payments if you already receive Income Support or the income-based part of the Jobseeker’s Allowance, and have (any):

  • One of the disability or pensioner premiums
  • A disabled child
  • Child Tax Credit (providing it includes a disability or severe disability element)
  • A child under the age of five (5) living with you

You should receive the Cold Weather Payment if you are already getting the income-related part of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and in a work-related activity group or support group.

What if you are not in either of the ESA groups? In this case, you might qualify if you have (any):

  • One of the severe or enhanced disability premiums
  • A pensioner premium
  • A disabled child
  • Child Tax Credit (providing it includes a disability or severe disability element)
  • A child under the age of five (5) living with you

Universal Credit

Claimants getting Universal Credit (who are not employed or self-employed) should be eligible if one of these apply:

  • You have a health condition or a disability and have limited capability for work (with or without work-related activity)
  • You have a child under the age of five (5) living with you

Qualification also applies to people who get a disabled child amount in their claim (whether they are in work or not).

Note: The UK Rules website has further information on health conditions, disability and Universal Credit.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

In general, Cold Weather Payments will also go out to people who are getting Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

How Much are Cold Weather Payments?

You qualify by way of the welfare benefits you receive, by your age, or by other eligibility criteria already set out in this guide. If so, you will get a payment of £25.00 for each seven (7) day period of very cold weather between the 1st of November and the 31st of March.

Note: It is a standard payment – paid by automatic process and usually within twelve (12) days of the benefit clicking in.

The period of cold weather can begin on any given day of the week (e.g. a Wednesday). It should then be 7 days of unbroken cold days from that particular starting point!

Cold Weather Payments do not affect any other social security benefits that claimants receive. Thus, the government will not deduct the money from them.

Related Guide: The UK Rules website (or GOV.UK) has further information about the Cold Weather Payment and what to do if you don’t receive it.