Arctic blast sets off government's Cold Weather Payment - but are you eligible for the £25 off energy bills?

9 December 2022, 17:20 | Updated: 9 December 2022, 17:23

Arctic blast swarms UK as temperatures drop to -10C.
Arctic blast swarms UK as temperatures drop to -10C. Picture: Alamy
Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Cold Weather Payment has finally been triggered, after UK temperatures dropped to below freezing and the nation continues to be engulfed in a sudden arctic blast.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Payments have already been triggered in Nottingham, Woburn in Bedfordshire, and Coleshill in Warwickshire.

To aid households struggling to stay warm in the big freeze, the government has stepped in to slip an additional £25 into the purses of those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis.

While the payment can be applied to harsh energy bills, it's only eligible for those in England and Wales who have fallen into dire straits after the UK experienced a -9C drop in temperature. It completely excludes Scotland.

Those eligible to the DWP's £25 bonus can look forward to receiving the payment automatically through a simple bank transfer.

READ MORE: Four inches of snow to blanket London as Troll of Trondheim blasts into Britain bringing -9C freeze

The government's Cold Weather Payment has been active since the 1 November 2022, but it's taken over a month for it to become accessible to those that need it due to its strict trigger requirements.

The £25 benefit can only be triggered when temperatures fall below, or are expected to fall below, sub-zero for a period of 7 consecutive days. The payment can then be renewed the following week, if temperatures are predicted to stay as cold.

Now that the UK has experienced a sudden arctic cold snap, a reported 400,000 hard-hit households across 300 postcode regions in England and Wales have become recipients of the benefit.

Although eligible households are set to claim the payment automatically, the government website features a search tool that allows the public to check if they can redeem the payment by simply inputting the first half of their postcode.

Almost four inches of snow could fall in London and South East within days

The Met Office issued a cold weather warning earlier this week, and the public was alerted to a potentially 'major incident' as the chill was expected to drop to -10C.

After being advised to wear warm layers and eat hot meals, millions of Brits felt the temperature suddenly plummet overnight on December 7.

In the capital, Mayor Sadiq Khan has raced to set off London's first severe weather emergency protocol of the winter to open up accommodation options for homeless people and the most vulnerable.

Phoenix Park dusted with snow as Ireland freezes in Arctic blast

Why has the payment been triggered?

The payment has been triggered because for the first time this year temperatures have been recorded as, or are forecasted to hit, -0C for seven consecutive days in regions of England and Wales.

The payment isn't restricted to the winter, and can be triggered at any time until the 31 March 2023, so long as weather conditions drop as dangerously.

Who is eligible for the £25?

People in England or Wales who receive certain benefits or support may be eligible for the government's Cold Weather Payment.

Those likely to be most eligible will be currently receiving income support, income-based job seeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, pension credit, mortgage interest support, and universal credit.

However, the exact criteria for receiving the DWP's £25 really depends on individual circumstances which can be checked on the government website. The public can also have a look and see whether their home address is included in the list of regions eligible for the benefit using the website's postcode checker.

Those eligible will receive a standard payment of £25 for each seven-day-period where the weather is expected to drop to below freezing from now until the 31 March 2023.

Recipients will be paid automatically within 14 days into the same bank account that they receive benefit payments in.

Snow falls in Edinburgh amid cold spell

What about Scotland?

Scottish citizens are not eligible for the DWP's Cold Weather Payment, but they can claim an annual £50 Winter Heating Payment instead, regardless of the weather conditions in a specific area.

READ MORE: Brits struggle to stay warm amid -9 Arctic blast and sky-high energy prices - with some resorting to 'bubble glazing'

Energy bills have been steadily increasing for months in parallel to the rise in the cost of living. In November, Ofgem had announced that the energy price cap is set to rise to an annual level of £4,279 in January 2023.

In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt had stated that the current Tory administration are a "compassionate" one that will support struggling Brits navigate an economic landscape where inflation has hit a 45-year-high of 11.1%.

In an open letter published to their website, the Chief Executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action urged that the "government must prioritise the most vulnerable in 2023 and beyond."

While the DWP's £25 bonus will help thousands, many people who aren't eligible for the Cold Weather Payment will still be feeling the pressure of rising household expenses.

Certain energy providers are on hand to help, and it's been advised that struggling households reach out to their specific energy provider and enquire about the benefits and support that they can provide.

British Gas has also announced that it will provide financial support on energy bills to those eligible for it, even if they aren't a direct customer.

READ MORE: Pensioner 'terrified' over aunt's heating bill, saying she lacks financial understanding due to dementia

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A new study has revealed the impact of 'shrinkflation'.

Festive faves hit by ‘shrinkflation’ as shoppers show how Christmas treats have declined in size over the years

Rishi Sunak is hoping to appease the 'vast majority' of Tory MPs with the new legislation.

Sunak to ‘cut through middle’ on Rwanda plan in bid to appease ‘majority’ of Tory MPs as ministers threaten to quit

Mr Johnson is expected to apologise to the Covid Inquiry and acknowledge the government did not get everything right during the pandemic.

Boris Johnson to tell Covid Inquiry he 'delayed first lockdown based on Chris Whitty's advice'

Police have linked an assault that took place hours before Anthony's murder to the investigation.

Cold case detectives link baseball bat assault to unsolved 1984 murder as they appeal for witnesses

A woman has died and two have been injured.

Woman, 42, dies after east London shooting as murder investigation launched

His wife Elizabeth Hines announced his death on Tuesday evening.

'He'll be remembered with great fondness': Paul McCartney leads tributes to Wings guitarist Denny Laine

The King and Queen were joined by William and Kate for the Diplomatic Reception.

Business as usual: Royal family puts on united front at diplomatic reception in first joint appearance amid race row

US Russia Detainees

Russia rejects offer over jailed Americans Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich

Israel Palestinians Hamas IS

Netanyahu says Israel must retain control of security in Gaza after the war

House Explosion Virginia

Man believed to have fired shots before Virginia house exploded is dead: police

Jonathan Majors Assault Case

Jonathan Majors’ accuser said actor’s ‘violent temper’ left her fearful

Johnson was jailed for two years for preventing a burial and was given concurrent six-month sentences for each of the three fraud charges.

Carer jailed for storing pensioner's body in freezer for two years after being 'overcome with grief'

Cameron meets Nelson Mandela

Hamas officials join Mandela’s family to mark 10th anniversary of his death

Everything the High Court has heard so far in Harry's legal fight against the Home Office.

Why is Prince Harry challenging the UK government in court? Everything we know so far

The Home Secretary has described a new migration treaty with Rwanda as far more ‘robust’ than previous proposals

'Thousands of asylum seekers will be taken in from UK', Rwandan Govt tells LBC, but criminals will be sent back

Haiti President Killed

Former DEA informant pleads guilty in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president