Social Justice

Here's when people will get the cold weather payment as temperatures drop below freezing

This is all you need to know about the cold weather payment this winter including when you get it, how much it is and who is eligible

cold weather payment/ snow picture

The cold weather payment hits bank accounts during freezing weather. Image: Unsplash

As temperatures get particularly cold, households may receive a cold weather payment.

This is given out to low-income households when temperatures drop below freezing.

It is a £25 top up per week intended to help people cover the extra costs they have to pay for heating.

People in receipt of certain benefits receive the payment if the average temperature in their area is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.

The Met Office has warned on Wednesday (10 January) of “increasing chance of wintry hazards” across the country. Cold and largely dry conditions will persist through much of this week, and the south in particular will be colder than usual.

It’s set to get even colder through the weekend and into next week, with a chance of snow in many areas, particularly in the north.

Met Office Head of Situational Awareness Will Lang said: “There will be a resurgence in the really cold weather through the weekend and that spreads across the whole of the UK during the early part of next week. Initially, this means there will be more in the way of showers around the coasts, turning increasingly to snow for many areas, especially further north.”

This means there is more of a chance of the cold weather payment for low-income households across the country.

It is automatically paid to people living in postcodes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which are expected to fall to freezing temperatures.

If you live in Scotland, you will get the winter heating payment instead. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the cold weather payment including when you will receive it, who gets it, how much it is, how to apply and what to do if you think you’re missing a cold weather payment.

When will I get the cold weather payment?

The cold weather payment will be paid to people when temperatures drop below freezing for seven consecutive days between 1 November 2023 and 31 March 2024. 

You should be paid within 14 working days after the period of cold weather in your area. 

If you are based in England or Wales, you can find out if you are due a cold weather payment here by typing in your postcode. For those people based in Northern Ireland, you can find out if you are due a payment here.

How much is the cold weather payment?

The cold weather payment is £25 for each seven-day period that temperatures are below freezing. 

If temperatures are below freezing for 14 consecutive days, you will get £50. 

Many people miss out on the payment if temperatures drop below freezing for just a few days. It’s rare in many parts of the country to see such cold weather for a whole week.

As an example, if temperatures drop below freezing for six days, you won’t get the payment. 

There are other ways to get help with your energy bills here and more cost of living help here

Who is eligible for the cold weather payment?

People may be eligible for the cold weather payment if they are receiving certain benefits and financial assistance from the government. This includes: pension credit, income support, income-related jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), universal credit or support for mortgage interest (SMI). 

But not everyone receiving these benefits will get the cold weather payment. If you’re on JSA, you will also have one of the following to receive the payment: a disability or pensioner premium, a child who is disabled, child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element or a child under the age of five living with you.

If you’re getting ESA or SMI, you’ll get the payment if you have one of the following: a severe or enhanced disability premium, a pensioner premium, a child who is disabled, child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element or a child under the age of five living with you.

For those on universal credit, you’ll get the payment if you are not employed or ‘gainfully self-employed’ (meaning you make a profit and work regularly) and neither is your partner. If you have a disabled child, it does not matter if you’re employed, you’ll automatically be eligible for the payment. 

You have to be living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland – and your area has to see temperatures drop to below freezing for seven days straight. 

If you’re going into hospital, you should tell the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus as this could affect your payment. If you’re getting universal credit, sign in to your account and add a note to your journal.

If you do not have an online account, ring the universal credit helpline instead on 08003285644.

How do I apply for the cold weather payment?

You don’t have to apply for the cold weather payment. It is paid automatically into the same bank or building society as your other benefits payments

It will arrive within 14 working days after the period of cold weather. 

If you get income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance and you’ve had a baby or a child under five has come to live with you, you need to tell Jobcentre Plus. You will not get the payment automatically if you don’t. Find out how to contact Jobcentre Plus here.



What do I do if my cold weather payment is missing?

If you haven’t received the payment – but you think you were eligible for it and temperatures have dropped below freezing for seven days – you need to tell the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus. Call the Pension Service on 08007310469 and find your nearest Jobcentre Plus here.

If you’re getting universal credit, sign in to your account and add a note to your journal. If you don’t have an online account, you should ring the universal credit helpline instead – that’s 08003285644.

Is this different from the winter fuel payment?

Yes, the winter fuel payment is a different benefit to the cold weather payment  – although both help people with fuel costs. It is paid to people born before 25 September, 1957.

It ranges between £250 and £600 depending on your circumstances, and this is all tax-free. Find out more about the winter fuel payment here.

Where can I get cost of living support? 

At The Big Issue, we want to help get you through the cost of living crisis. Here are some of our articles with extensive information to help you navigate the circumstances at the moment:

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

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