Thursday, 17 January 2013

Surge in cold weather payments

Cold weather payments are set to surge as a result of the freezing weather engulfing much of the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions revealed that bitter conditions had already triggered payments to 2 million people over the last week alone, a total of £50m.

They go to those on Pension Credit and several other income-related benefits. Each 7 day period of freezing temperatures results in an automatic £25 addition to benefit to help families keep warm.

The coldest areas this year have been Aviemore, Braemar and Loch Glasgarnoch in the Scottish Highlands, which have each had four 7 day trigger periods.

There have been a number of areas in England which have had qualifying cold spells, including Bingley, Sheffield, Norwich, Nottingham, Bedford and High Wycombe.

And several in Wales have had the money, among them Capel Curig, Lake Vyrnwy and Sennybridge.

However, around 1.5m pensioners are missing out, the result of not claiming Pension Credit even though they are struggling on low incomes.

They need to put in a Pension Credit claim in order to get the cash. The Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said: "I want to ensure the most vulnerable people know about the support that is available."

"With more cold weather expected in the next week people shouldn't have to worry about turning up the heating when temperatures plummet."

Payments so far this winter are behind last year's £129m and well short of 2010-11 which saw £430m disbursed in 17 million payments.

Here's some more info.

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