Those who receive certain eligible benefits can claim cold weather payments if their area experiences continuous freezing temperatures over a seven-day period. For example, a pension credit claimant who faces the cold during this time would receive £25 to cover their energy costs. This year, a region in the UK was eligible for a cold weather payment after experiencing sub-zero temperatures over three seven-day periods.
Because of this, eligible households were able to access £75 of additional support. This particular benefit payment is only available to people between October and March.
During the 2021/22 winter season, these locations in the UK were able to claim cold weather payments:
Aboyne – 7,000 estimated eligible beneficiaries
Aviemore – 1,000 estimated eligible beneficiaries
Loch Glascarnoch – 2,000 estimated eligible beneficiaries
Braemar – 1,000 estimated eligible beneficiaries
Braemas was the region that recorded sub-zero temperatures over three seven-day periods, meaning pension credit claimants can claim the triple cold weather payout.
A woman named Celia, who is of retirement age, said: “Like many older people, I am rationing my heating and trying to find other ways to keep my head above water financially.
“With the cost of food and most other necessities rising almost daily, the future, especially in the colder months, looks very bleak indeed.”
Sandra, 74, added: “I am a pensioner living on state pension in a privately rented house.
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“If my energy bills increase as much as expected, despite the help already given, I will not be able to heat my house, eat, feed my little dog and pay my bills without going into more debt because my savings have already been eaten up a way.”
Age UK has recommended that the UK government provide additional financial assistance with payments of up to £500 using the Cold Weather Payment eligibility criteria.
The charity believes this is the quickest way to get money into people’s hands with the system already in place.
Additionally, Age UK is pushing for a 5% reduction in VAT on all household energy bills from April to the end of the year.
“This is a national crisis that requires a quick and decisive response from ministers. Every day we hear heartbreaking stories of desperate elderly people who are forced to choose between heating and eating.
“It’s not a looming crisis, it’s already upon us – and while the government dithers, millions of older people are suffering and putting their health at risk because they can’t afford to warm up. It is an absolute scandal that requires urgent government action.
“The scale energy price hike we are currently seeing is unprecedented and the government’s response must match the threat it poses to older people, many of whom are vulnerable and struggling. to pay exorbitant bills with a meager state pension.”
A government spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to helping vulnerable households heat their homes, which is why we have announced a £9.1billion support package to help families cope with rising energy costs.
“Our winter fuel payments are supporting over 11 million retirees with their energy bills and we continue to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits available, to make a claim. “