What Are Your Cold Weather Rights?
- Claiming back money for cancelled trains and flights
- Cold weather payment scheme from the DWP could benefit you
- Winter fuel allowance
- Employee rights if your child’s school is shut
Snow and freezing temperatures has caused nationwide disruption- on the roads, for trains, and for school or work.
Many have had trains and flights cancelled, or had to miss work to stay home at look after children due to school closures.
If you’ve been affected by the cold weather, then you may be due some compensation.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also be able to claim money from the DWP’s cold weather payment scheme, or winter fuel allowance.
If you’re train has been cancelled, you can get a refund
From 8am on Wednesday, National Rail services are disrupted, and there are disruptions on many other train lines that may lead to cancellations and delays.
If your train is cancelled, you’ll be able to get on the next train to your destination without having to buy another ticket, but check with the station staff just to be safe.
If your train is running but is delayed, you’ll be able to claim some money back if it is delayed for longer than half an hour, however this will depend on the individual train company.
You might be able to get compensation for missing a flight
If you can’t make a flight because of the weather, you might be able to get compensation from your travel insurance provider, but different providers have different rules.
You will have to prove that you allowed a reasonable amount of time for your journey to get to the airport on time, and that you weren’t just late because of bad time management.
You can get a refund if your flight is cancelled
When a flight is cancelled, regardless of the cause, you can either get a full refund or an alternative flight.
A refund will include money back for both legs of the flight if both are affected by the cancellation.
If you still want to travel, your airline is obliged to find an alternative flight, which either has to be at the earliest opportunity, or at a suitable time for the passenger.
If your flight is delayed for more than two hours, remember that the airline has to provide assistance, such as food or accomodation where appropriate.
What are your rights for work?
If there is heavy snow where you work and you are unable to travel, but your workplace is still open, your employer doesn't have to pay you, so you may be forced to take unpaid leave.
Try to come to an agreement with your employer, such as working from home or changing your hours to avoid this.
If you do not want to take it as unpaid leave, you could ask your employer if you could take the time off as holiday.
You don’t have to go to work if your child is off school
Hundreds of schools across the UK have already been closed this week, and with the weather predicted to get worse, it is likely more will be shut.
If your child’s school is closed, or your normal childcare arrangements are disrupted due to the weather, you might have the right to take time off to look after your child.
In an emergency situation you can take unpaid leave to look after your child, and extreme weather such as heavy snow, counts as one of these.
What benefits can you claim?
There are two types of allowances that apply for when the weather is extremely cold- the winter fuel allowance and the cold weather payment scheme.
Winter fuel allowance is for elderly people to claim money to help to fund their homes throughout winter.
They can receive between £100 to £300 over winter, depending on circumstances.
You need to apply if you have never recieved or don’t get a State Pension or other benefits, and if you were born on or before 5th August 1953, and lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of the 18th-24th September 2017.
Cold Weather Payment is a scheme that runs between 1st November to 31st March every year, and provides £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather within the time frame.
After each period, those eligible for the scheme should receive the money within 14 days.
You are eligible for the scheme if you receive Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit.
You don’t need to apply for it as it should be paid automatically, but if you believe that you should be receiving it, then talk to some at your Jobcentre Plus to get more information.