HARD-UP households have just weeks left to get cold weather payments worth up to £75.
The benefit, to help struggling Brits pay for energy bills during spells of freezing weather, ends on March 31.
The grant is worth £25 every time temperatures fall below zero for seven days in a row.
That means there's still time for cold weather payments to be triggered three times – which would total a £75 payment.
The help is particularly important this year as energy bills have rocketed.
The average household is set to see their gas and electricity costs rise £693 a year from April, when the energy price cap is hiked.
According to the latest government figures, the number of Brits who are eligible to receive the grant is currently 3.9million.
But they'll only get it when the temperature drops below 0C for a whole week.
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There have been six triggers in Britain since November last year.
All of the payments have been in Scotland so far, with 394,000 eligible recipients.
The data shows that five of those were in December 2021, with another payment made in January.
You can check whether you're owed a payment by searching for your postcode on the Department for Work and Pensions website.
We've also published a list of all the postcodes that are eligible for a payment.
Who is eligible for the cold weather payment scheme?
You must be receiving certain benefits in order to get the cold weather payment.
You will usually get the £25 pay out if you claim:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also need to meet one of the following criteria:
- Have a disability or be in receipt of pension premium
- Have a child who is disabled
- Be in receipt of child tax credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
- Have a severe or enhanced disability premium
- Be in receipt of a limited capability for work amount
- Have a child under five living with you
You can find the full eligibility criteria on the government's website.
How much will I get?
You will get £25 for each week-long period with sub-zero temperatures recorded in your area between November 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.
After the spell of cold weather you should get a payment within 14 working days.
It will be paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments.
How can I apply?
You don't need to apply for the cold weather payment as eligible households will automatically receive the pay out.
Double check if your area is on the postcode list if you think you might have missed out.
Let the pension service or Jobcentre know if you haven't received the grant.
Universal Credit claimants should sign in to their accounts and add a note to their journals.
Alternatively, you can ring the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
What other help is available?
If you don't qualify for a cold weather payment, there is other help available.
First of all you should make sure you're getting all the benefits you're entitled to.
You can use an online benefits calculator to check you're not missing out.
Check with your local council as you may be entitled to help from the Household Support Fund, which closes at the end of the month.
If you're struggling with energy bills or housing costs you should let your supplier or landlord know as soon as possible as they might be able to help.
Energy suppliers including British Gas have launched emergency funds to help consumers cover gas and electricity costs.
Get in touch with charities such as Citizens Advice, Turn2Us and Stepchange if you're worried about your finances.
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