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Cold weather payments begin as temperatures plummet

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Written by: Rebecca Goodman
08/12/2022
The government will be issuing cold weather payments to eligible households on low incomes after temperatures fell to below zero degrees celsius.

The payments are issued when the temperature falls to zero degrees or below over seven consecutive days.

Those eligible are paid £25 for every seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. The payments are made when there is a risk to people’s health from the cold weather.

A cold weather alert has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and it will run until Monday.

It comes as average bills are currently capped at £2,500 a year under the Energy Price Guarantee and due to rise to £3,000 in April.

Eligible households paid £25

The Cold Weather Payment is for those in England and in 2020 – 2021 nearly £100 million was paid out.

In Scotland, those eligible receive an annual payment of £50, called the Winter Heating Payment, when temperatures are low.

Payments are made automatically to those who are eligible, into the bank account where they usually receive their benefits or pension. They are paid within 14 days after the seven-day period.

To get the payment you need to be receiving one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

To find out if you’re eligible, you can enter your postcode on the gov.uk website.

If you think you should get a payment but haven’t received one, contact the pension service or Jobcentre Plus.

How to keep costs down in a safe way

Richard Neudegg, spokesperson for Uswitch.com, said: “Cold Weather Payments help many vulnerable households including older people and disabled families to keep the heating on when they might not be able to afford it. The payments go to the most vulnerable people in areas where the mercury has plunged to zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

“With temperatures dropping rapidly, it’s important to track your energy usage and change your habits in a safe and manageable way while keeping warm.”

Here are five tips to stay warm safely when the temperature drops:

  1. If you can, try to keep your thermostat at around 18°C, the recommended temperature for people in good health.
  2. Cutting draughts by sealing windows is a quick and cost-effective way to keep your home warm.
  3. Reducing the flow rate on combination boilers can quickly knock money off heating bills, these boilers work best when the water going to radiators is heated at 60°C or below.
  4. Keep curtains closed at night when it’s colder and open them when the sun is out to let the warmth in.
  5. Keep your radiators as free of obstructions as possible. Sofas positioned in front of radiators will absorb heat rather than letting it spread around the room.

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