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emergency loan for cold weather

What financial help is available during cold weather?

The recent winter cold snap has caused havoc across the UK, with sub zero temperatures, travel problems, and some school closures. But what impact has it had on your finances? 

In our recent article How to save energy this Christmas season, we looked at various ways to save energy around the home. But when extra cold weather comes along, the temptation is to crank up the heating and worry about the bills later. 

It’s a good idea to try and avoid this, and still be mindful of ways to conserve energy. But there are also a few additional sources of financial help during cold weather that you need to be aware of, in case you may be eligible for them.

In this article we take a brief look at:

  • Cold Weather Payment;
  • Winter Fuel Payment;
  • Warm Home Discount.

 

We will also explore changes that you can consider making to your home to keep it warmer next winter.

 

Cold Weather Payment

The Cold Weather Payment is a government benefit top-up to help with fuel bills during times of exceptionally cold weather. If the weather is very cold, you may be eligible for this one-off payment if you receive any of the following benefits and meet additional criteria outlined on the Gov UK website:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit

 

You will receive £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Very cold weather is defined as the temperature dropping to 0°C or below for 7 days in a row. More than one payment will be made during the course of the winter if there are enough periods of cold weather.

After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days. It’s paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. 

You should receive the payment automatically, you do not need to apply. However, it’s important to ensure that you always notify the authorities of any change to your circumstances. For example, if you receive Income Support, JSA or ESA and have either had a baby or a child under 5 has come to live with you you need to let JobCentre Plus know to ensure that you get the Cold Weather Payment.

Also, if you are in hospital during a period of cold weather, you need to let the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus know, as this could affect your payment. If you are receiving Universal Credit, sign in to your account and add a note to your journal.

 

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is an automatic payment of £250 and £600 paid to pensioners to help with the cost of heating bills. 

It is paid to everyone born on or before 25th September 1957 who is receiving either the state pension or another social security benefit (excluding Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit). 

The exact amount you will receive is based on your age and whether you live alone or with a partner. It also includes a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of between £150 and £300, which is in addition to any other Cost of Living Payments you get with your benefit or tax credits.

 

Warm Home Discount

If you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or live in a low-income household, you should be entitled to the Warm Home Discount. This would give you a £150 discount on your winter energy bills. This discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount, you should receive a letter in January. If you think that you’re eligible, but don’t receive a letter, you need to contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme before 29ht February.

You can find out more about Warm Home Discount on the Gov UK website here.

 

Looking ahead to winter 2024

Looking ahead to next winter, you have time to make changes to your home to ensure that it is as warm as it can possibly be. This will also save you money on energy bills. Some are relatively simple to do yourself, and you may also be able to get financial help with some of these home improvements.

Five changes to consider are:

  • Draught proofing

If your home is draughty it will often feel cold even if the heating is on. Draught-proofing is one of the quickest, cheapest and most effective ways to improve the warmth of your home and save money in the process. save energy – and money – in any type of building. So check for draughts – particularly around doors and windows, fireplaces, wall vents or gaps in the floor. 

You can draught-proof your home quickly and easily by using DIY methods such as using draught excluders or draught-proofing strips to block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. 

Another option would be to get it professionally done, which would mean an initial financial layout but longer-term savings on energy bills afterwards.

 

  • Radiators

If you have any radiators in your home that are fitted on an external wall, it is worth considering radiator reflector panels. These can be easily fitted behind your radiators, and will then reflect heat from the radiator back into the room, rather than letting heat out through an external wall. Radiator reflector prices start at under £10 and you could soon feel the difference.

 

  • Hot water tank insulation

Another simple way to conserve heat in your home is to lag your water tanks to reduce the amount of heat lost through the tank and keep your water hotter for longer. This is a job that you can easily do yourself, and a hot water cylinder jacket should cost around £20.

 

  • Insulation

There are various types of insulation that it is worth considering for your home. The good news is that financial assistance is available for many types of insulation:

  • Cavity wall insulation

If your house was built after the 1920s, it may have cavity walls. A cavity wall consists of two separate walls with a gap – or cavity – in between. Many cavity walls can be insulated by injecting insulation material such as beads or foam into the cavity. This needs to be done professionally and usually takes around two hours.

  • Roof or loft insulation

An estimated quarter of heat is lost through the roof of your home if it is not insulated. So if you insulate your loft or roof, it will make a dramatic difference to the heat loss from your home.

  • Double or triple glazing

Double or triple glazing means adding more glass panes in a sealed unit to your doors, windows or conservatory. This can also drastically reduce the amount of heat lost from your home, and save you money on energy bills.

 

Financial help may be available with some of the above measures. If you or someone you live with is receiving benefits, you may be able to get help from your energy supplier through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. The scheme requires energy suppliers to install energy efficiency measures in the homes of the people who need them most. These measures include insulation, replacing or repairing your boiler, and other upgrades to your heating.

If you want to insulate your home, you may be eligible for help under the Great British Insulation Scheme if either:

Your home is in Council Tax bands A-D and has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating D-G;

You receive qualifying benefits and live in a home with an EPC rating of D or below.

You can read more about the Great British Insulation Scheme and how to apply for funding on the Energy Saving Trust website here.

 

We hope that the above information helps you to understand more about what kind of financial help is available to you during periods of cold weather, and also to help make your home warmer.

If you need extra funds and either are not eligible for financial help, or the timings don’t work, remember that Loans 2 Go offers emergency loans that may be able to help.

 For more helpful lifestyle and financial tips, visit us here again soon at Loans 2 Go.