For some people, government help is on hand to pay energy bills when cold snaps start to bite
Freezing temperatures and the threat of snow means more Britons will be considering heating their homes, despite the increased costs which now come with energy bills.
Soaring cost-of-living expenses have exacerbated how much households must pay for heating and electricity.
For some people though, government help is available.
But what exactly is available and who qualifies to receive the money?
What is the Cold Weather Payment?
The scheme is designed to support people in England and Wales during periods of particularly cold weather.
Eligibility depends on how cold it gets in your area and if you are already receiving benefit support.
People in Scotland are not eligible for the scheme - instead, an annual £50 Winter Heating Payment could be made instead.
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Who can get the Cold Weather Payment?
You’ll only be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you already get:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Those eligible should be paid automatically. There is no need to apply.
How much can you get?
You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather - if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius - between November 1 and March 31.
After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days.
Because the scheme has been active since November 1 in 2022, some areas have met the criteria for payments twice - which means they can claim a double payment of £50.
Bainbridge in North Yorkshire, for example, met the criteria from December 6-12 and between December 13-19 in 2022.
Use the government's postcode checker to see if the cold weather payment has been triggered in your area.
The amount is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.
What about the Winter Fuel Payment?
More than 11.6 million pensioners should have started to receive up to £600 to help with their energy bills this winter.
Winter Fuel Payments, which have been boosted this year by an additional £300 per household Pensioner Cost of Living payment, will land in bank accounts over December and January.
The vast majority of payments will be made automatically, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
The money will appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s national insurance number followed by "DWP WFP" for people living in England, Scotland and Wales, or "DFC WFP" for people in Northern Ireland.
While most payments should have been automatic in November or December, some people may need to make a claim, such as those who qualify but do not receive benefits or the state pension and have never previously received a Winter Fuel Payment, the DWP said.
Those who did not receive a payment by January 26 2024, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre, the DWP said.
How to get a grant from your energy supplier
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
If none of these companies supply your energy, you can still apply for a grant through British Gas Energy Trust as you do not need to be a customer. However, you do need to get debt advice before applying.
You can check if you're eligible for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.
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