BENEFITS EXPERT: Why have I not had a cold weather payment this year?

Q. I receive Guaranteed Pension Credit and last year received a Cold Weather Payment around the beginning of January, this was £25.
How Cold Weather Payments for pensioners may affect their benefits.How Cold Weather Payments for pensioners may affect their benefits.
How Cold Weather Payments for pensioners may affect their benefits.

However when I have checked my benefit payments I have not had the payment, why is this and how do I get the payment?

A. The Cold Weather payment is automated and there is no requirement to submit a claim. If you qualify the payment is added by The DWP. The payment only applies to certain groups of benefit claimants, typically Pensioners get Pension Credit, for those below pension age you would need to be getting an Income Based/means tested benefit such as Income Support, Income Based ESA, Income Based Job Seekers or Universal Credit as well as getting increases to these benefits due to health conditions or you are responsible and receive benefits for a child aged 5 or under.

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The reason you have not yet received a Cold Weather payment is there probably hasn't been a period of cold weather as defined by the regulations in question i.e. for your postcode area there must be a period of 7 consecutive days where the average mean temperature was 0 degrees Celsius or below. You can check this on the Government Website under the section for Cold Weather payments.

Q. I am caring for my mother who has spinal problems. She is going into hospital and is expected to be in hospital for around 6 weeks. I understand that her disability benefits will stop after 4 weeks, but I am wondering about my Carer's Allowance payments as I will still be visiting her every day and doing jobs at home for her.

A. You are correct that your Mother’s disability benefits will stop after 4 weeks of being in hospital; this is the case for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance, unless paid for a child or someone who is terminally ill.

Unfortunately, your Carer's Allowance will also stop at the point that the disability benefit ceases to be paid. If you are receiving Income Support as a Carer then you can continue to receive that for up to 8 weeks after your Carer's Allowance ends, which would be 12 weeks in total from when your Mother goes into hospital. As Income Support is a means tested benefit, your payments would increase while your Carer's Allowance is not in payment, so you would actually receive Income Support at the same rate as Income Support and Carer's Allowance usually are as a combined payment meaning that you will not be worse off financially.