Cold weather triggers first payments to most vulnerable

Published on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 11:18
Posted by Scott Buckler

As freezing temperatures hit Britain, the first Cold Weather Payments of this winter have been triggered in Aviemore, Braemar and Loch Glascarnoch. Almost 3000 payments of £25 will be paid out in the next few days, providing vital reassurance to the most vulnerable households that they can afford to turn up the heating this winter

Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb said:

"Cold Weather Payments provide real help to the most vulnerable people and that is why we took action to permanently increase them to £25 from the budgeted rate of £8.50. We don’t want people to worry about turning up their heating when temperatures plummet."

Cold Weather Payments are made for each 7 day period of very cold weather - if average temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees centigrade or below over 7 consecutive days.

Around 4 million people are potentially eligible for Cold Weather Payments.  Over 2 million of these are pensioners who receive Pension Credit. Payments are also made to disabled adults and children, and families with children under 5 who receive an income-related benefit.

Last winter a record 17 million Cold Weather Payments were made, worth an estimated £430 million.  People don’t need to claim Cold Weather Payments as they are paid automatically to those who are entitled.

There is a range of help available to older people this winter.  Most will receive Winter Fuel Payments, which will be paid at the rate of £200 for households with someone who has reached women’s State Pension age and is aged under 80 and £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over.

Pensioners can also receive help with insulating costs through the Warm Front scheme, and over 600,000 pensioners on only the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit will also receive a rebate of £120 on their electricity bills this Winter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.


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