Press release

Cold weather triggers first payments to most vulnerable

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

As freezing temperatures hit Britain, the first Cold Weather Payments of this winter have been triggered.

As freezing temperatures hit Britain, the first Cold Weather Payments of this winter have been triggered in Aviemore, Braemar and Loch Glascarnoch. Almost 3000 payments of £25 will be paid out in the next few days, providing vital reassurance to the most vulnerable households that they can afford to turn up the heating this winter.

Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb said:

Cold Weather Payments provide real help to the most vulnerable people and that is why we took action to permanently increase them to £25 from the budgeted rate of £8.50. We don’t want people to worry about turning up their heating when temperatures plummet.

Cold Weather Payments are made for each 7 day period of very cold weather - if average temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees centigrade or below over 7 consecutive days.

Around 4 million people are potentially eligible for Cold Weather Payments.  Over 2 million of these are pensioners who receive Pension Credit. Payments are also made to disabled adults and children, and families with children under 5 who receive an income-related benefit.

Last winter a record 17 million Cold Weather Payments were made, worth an estimated £430 million.  People don’t need to claim Cold Weather Payments as they are paid automatically to those who are entitled.

There is a range of help available to older people this winter.  Most will receive Winter Fuel Payments, which will be paid at the rate of £200 for households with someone who has reached women’s State Pension age and is aged under 80 and £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over.

Pensioners can also receive help with insulating costs through the Warm Front scheme, and over 600,000 pensioners on only the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit will also receive a rebate of £120 on their electricity bills this Winter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Notes to Editors:

  1. There is no need to claim Cold Weather Payments as they are paid automatically. To find out whether your postcode has been triggered please see www.direct.gov.uk/coldweatherpayment
  2. If you are in receipt of Pension Credit you will receive a Cold Weather Payment for any period of severe weather. If you are in receipt of Income Support and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance you will receive a Cold Weather Payment for period of severe weather if you also have any of the following:
    • Child under five living with you or a disabled child premium
    • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
    • A disability or pensioner premium
    • If you are in receipt of Income-related Employment and Support Allowance you will usually receive Cold Weather Payments if you also have any of the following:
  • The support or work-related component of ESA
  • A severe or enhanced disability premium
  • A pensioner premium
  • A child under five living with you, or a child who is  disabled
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element.
  • The Cold Weather Payment was temporarily increased from £8.50 to £25 for the winters of 2008/9 and 2009/10. In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Coalition Government decided to set the Cold Weather Payment rate at £25 for 2010/11 and subsequent winters for the duration of this administration. As a result, the Cold Weather Payment rate for 2011/12 will continue to be paid at £25.
  • The vast majority of pensioners will receive Winter Fuel Payments automatically before Christmas.  This includes customers who have received a Winter Fuel Payment in the past.  Newly eligible customers who have been on certain benefits will also be paid automatically before Christmas.   Other newly eligible people have been sent a claim form, and providing they returned these before 24 September, they will also be paid before Christmas.  Customers do not need to call to chase payment until after January.
  • More information on Winter Fuel Payments can be found at: www.direct.gov.uk/winterfuel
  • More information on the Warm Home Discount Scheme can be found at: www.direct.gov.uk/warmhome.