Keep warm and well

Winter welfare picture of a heart shaped radiator

Don't suffer in the cold - follow these tips to keep warm and make sure you're claiming all the help that you're entitled to.

Keeping warm at home

  • Keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts.
  • have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day.
  • Wear several layers of warm clothes (instead of just one chunky layer)
  • Keep as active as possible.

During the day

  • Heat your main living room to around 18 to 21ºC (64 to 70ºF) and the rest of the house to 16ºC (61ºF).
  • Heat all the rooms you use in the day.
  • Heat your bedroom before going to bed.
  • Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed. In very cold weather set the heating to come on earlier.

At night

  • Keep the temperature above 18ºC (65ºF) in your bedroom.
  • Open the window or door a little for ventilation if you use a fire or heater in your bedroom.
  • Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself.

Help paying for your heating

Winter Fuel Payments are made every winter to people born on or before 5 August 1953, regardless of the temperature. If you haven't had a winter fuel payment call 08459 15 15 15.

When the weather is particularly bad for seven days or more, you can also get a Cold Weather Payment, if you receive any of the following:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support and Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance if you also have:
    • a disability or pension premium
    • a child who is disabled
    • Child Tax Credit that includes disability or severe disability element
    • a child under five years old living with you
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you also have:
    • the support or work related component of ESA
    • a severe or enhanced disability premium
    • a pensioner premium
    • a child who is disabled
    • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
    • a child under five years old living with you

Tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus if you think you should receive a Cold Weather Payment but haven't had one. If you're still struggling to pay your heating bills speak to your energy supplier.

You can also call Welfare Rights on 0800 345 7375 to find out about any other benefits you may be entitled to.

Preparing for the next spell of cold weather

  • Stock up on basics such as long life milk, food that you can heat up easily and matches if you need to light a fire or gas cooker.
  • Improve your home's insulation and draught proofing. Call 0161 793 2264 to find out about grants that may be available.
  • Think about any medication that you need to take and plan to have enough in.

Be a good neighbour

If you have a neighbour who could be vulnerable in the bad weather, check to see if they are okay.

More help

  • Make sure to get your flu jab.
  • Helping Hands can offer quick, free practical help, advice and support. Simply telephone 0161 793 9419:
    • if your boiler breaks down, they can call out a heating engineer
    • if you need your drive or pathway gritting
    • if you need more advice and help with keeping warm and healthy
  • Find out about keeping your home warm and reducing your energy bills at the same time.

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