Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather. To “trigger” the payments, the average temperature at a specified weather station must be recorded as, or forecast to be, 0°C or below for seven consecutive days. The scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March each year.Jump to full report >>
The payment is a fixed amount for each week of cold weather. For many years this was set at £8.50 a week but the Labour Government increased the rate to £25 a week as a temporary measure for winters 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. The 2010 Government made the £25 rate permanent.
In the last two winters relatively mild weather meant that far fewer payments were made compared with previous years. In winter 2014/2015 DWP made 422,000 awards totalling £10.6 million. Winter 2013/2014 was exceptionally mild and payments “triggered” in one area only (postcodes linked to the Braemar weather station) in one week. Only 1,100 payments were made, totalling £27,500.
Payments are made automatically to those entitled to them. There should be no need to make a claim, but people who think they may be entitled but do not receive a payment should contact the Department for Work and Pensions.
Further background on the scheme can be found in Library standard note SN/SP/696, Cold Weather Payments. Information is also available at GOV.UK, and the DWP website has a series of Frequently Asked Questions on Cold Weather Payments. There is also a search facility showing when payments have been triggered at particular postcodes.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7454
Authors: Richard Keen; Steven Kennedy