People on Universal Credit may be able to get extra cash during very cold weather

The social protection scheme runs from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. It was set up in 1988 in order to support vulnerable individuals in the UK (excluding Northern Island) with financial support.

Households can thus receive Cold Weather Payments ahead of the freezing weather and be reassured that they have the additional money to afford extra heating.

Both forecast and observed temperatures from weather stations are used to determine which postcodes are eligible for payment.

More specifically, payments are made if the average temperature in an area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

Year-to-year weather variability means that some seasons could potentially have larger pay-outs than others.

Those eligible get a tax-free payment of £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather.

People may be able to get it if they are claiming Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Support for Mortgage Interest.

They do not need to apply if they receive any of these benefits.

Cold Weather Payments should be paid it automatically to them.

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However, in order to qualify, a person must not be employed or self-employed.

One of the following must also apply them; they have a health condition or disability and have limited capability for work, they have a child under five living with them or they have a disabled child amount in their claim, whether they’re employed or not.

Those receiving Universal Credit can also sign into their online account and add a note to their journal.

In the event that a person does not have an online account, they can ring the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 instead.

For anyone who is deaf or blind, they can dial 18001 then 0800 328 5644.

Cold Weather Payments do not affect other benefits and it does not count as taxable income.

After each period of very cold weather in an area, a person will receive a payment within fourteen working days.

It’s paid into the same bank or building society account where the respective benefit payments are made.

A letter is sent beforehand giving the estimated payment date.

Also, a person qualifies for a Cold Weather Payment if they are claiming Pension Credit and do not live in a care home.

This includes those who have had a baby or currently have a child under five living with them.

They must take action and inform the Pension Centre or Jobcentre Plus of this otherwise they may not get the payment.

In addition, it’s important to inform the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus upon being admitted into a hospital as this could affect the payment.

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