Are you an adviser? Go to Unbiased Pro

Who can get cold weather payments and how much is it?

3 mins read
by Lisa-Marie Voneshen
Last updated Tuesday, April 9, 2024

This article looks at what the cold weather payment is, who is eligible and when, as well as how much you’ll get.

The energy price cap has recently risen by 5%, coinciding with cold weather in January, leaving many to worry about how best to keep warm without breaking the bank. 

One of the ways to get help with your energy bills is with the cold weather payment scheme. 

We’ll look at what the cold weather payment is, who is eligible and how much you’ll get. 


  • The cold weather payment scheme aims to support those on certain benefits during very cold weather.

  • Payments are typically made between November and March if you experience very cold weather for seven consecutive days.

  • Making sure you’re taking advantage of any allowances and benefits is vital. 

What is the cold weather payment scheme? 

You may receive one or more cold weather payments if you’re on certain benefits to support you during very cold weather over the winter. 

The government usually offers cold winter payments between 1 November and 31 March if certain criteria and eligibility are met. 

You’ll get a cold weather payment if, in your local area, the average temperature is recorded as or forecasted to be zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March.  

These payments are only applicable to those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

If you live in Scotland, you can apply for a winter heating payment.  

Who is eligible for the cold weather payment scheme? 

If you’re on the following benefits, you may be eligible for cold weather payments: 

  • Pension credit

  • Income support

  • Universal credit (and if you or your partner is unemployed or not self-employed and either of you has a health condition or disability with a limited capability to work or take care of a child under five or a disabled child)

  • Support for mortgage interest (SMI)

  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)

  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) 

If you have income support or income-based JSA, you’ll usually get cold weather payments if you have any of the following: 

  • A child who is disabled

  • A disability or pensioner premium

  • A child under five living with you

  • A child tax credit with a disability or severe disability element 

If you get income-related ESA and are part of a work-related activity or support group, you’ll usually be eligible for cold weather payments. 

If you’re not in an eligible group (or get SMI), you’ll need to have one of the below: 

  • A pensioner premium

  • A severe or enhanced disability premium

  • Child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element

  • A child under the age of five living with you

  • A child who is disabled 

How much is a cold weather payment worth? 

You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather (zero degrees celsius or below) in your area between November and March. 

You should get a payment within 14 working days after each period of very cold weather, which is paid into the same bank account as your existing benefits.  

How do I apply for cold weather payments? 

You don’t need to apply as any payments should be automatically made if you’re eligible – and it won’t affect any other benefits you receive. 

However, you may need to get in touch with Jobcentre Plus if a child under five starts living with you or if you have a baby and you’re on income support or income-based JSA or income-related ESA.  

What should I do if I don’t get any cold weather payments and am eligible? 

You should get in touch with Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service if you believe you’re eligible for cold weather payments but haven’t received any. 

If you’re receiving universal credit, you can either add a note to your account or call the helpline.  

Need financial help? 

It can be tricky getting help with your money, but there are allowances and benefits that can help. 

While it costs to get financial advice, it may help if you have any specific goals in mind or need guidance when it comes to inheritance planning so you can ensure everything is in order for financial peace of mind.  

Get financial advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.
Find a financial adviser
Lisa-Marie Voneshen
Lisa-Marie Voneshen is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing and editing content across various areas, including personal finance and investing.