Due to the meteoric rise in energy prices and freezing weather conditions in parts of the country, many older Britons are needing to rely on Cold W
Due to the meteoric rise in energy prices and freezing weather conditions in parts of the country, many older Britons are needing to rely on Cold Weather Payments to pay off their bills. According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), over 13,000 Cold Weather Payments have been claimed by around 11,000 eligible individuals. Specifically, those who are in receipt of Pension Credit are being encouraged by the department to see if they meet the eligibility criteria by using the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) postcode checker.
Cold Weather Payments are an automatic top-up made by the Government which are triggered when a household’s local area is reported as or forecast to experience temperatures below zero degrees celsius.
The payment is awarded for every seven days of extremely cold weather, which is recorded at weather stations associated with the person’s postcode.
However, the payment is only available between November 1 and March 31, with the DWP handing out £100million in Cold Weather Payments between 2020 and 2021.
Pension Credit claimants are among the many benefit recipients who would meet the eligibility criteria to receive this additional payment.
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This benefit payment awards extra money to those who are over the state pension age who are on low income.
Pension Credit boosts someone’s weekly income to £177.10 if they are single and increases their joint weekly income to £270.30 if they have a partner.
Baroness Stedman-Scott, the Lords Minister for the DWP, said: “These additional payments provide support every year to help people experiencing the coldest weather, without anyone needing to lift a finger.
“Cold Weather Payments can be triggered right through to the end of March, giving people facing disproportionately cold weather that extra reassurance over the chillier months.”
Age UK is one of the many organisations calling on Pension Credit claimants to check the postcode checker to see if they are eligible for the Cold Weather Payments, as well as other payments.
The charity is lobbying for the Government to take further action and improve its current benefit payment schemes to better assist the millions of people who are in need.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s director, outlined the dire situation facing many pensioners amid the period of skyrocketing bills and living costs.
Ms Abrahams explained: “Many older people are well practiced at making a small pension go a long way, but that won’t be enough to protect them from the impact of rising household bills and soaring energy costs this time round.
“We are already hearing utterly heart-breaking stories from older people who are desperately worried about price increases and are rationing essential heating and even food as a result.
“This isn’t a crisis that’s arriving in the spring, it’s one that’s here already for many older people because their fear of unaffordable bills is driving them to not even try to stay adequately warm this winter.
“The Government must intervene swiftly and decisively to protect older people from their own stoicism and self-sacrifice.
“Every day that the Government sits on its hands, it increases the risks to older people’s health from living in a cold home.”
The Government’s Cold Weather Payment postcode checker can be found on the DWP website.
Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.