Social Security experience panels: cold spell and winter fuel payment – report

Findings from research with Social Security experience panels members on the new cold spell heating assistance and winter heating assistance.

Background and Research Methods

Fieldwork for this research took place in February and early March 2020. Panel members were invited to take part if they had previous experience of Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment. 358 Experience Panels members were invited to take part, and 120 responded either online, over the phone or by completing a paper survey, giving a response rate of 34 per cent. The survey was also sent to stakeholder organisations who work with people who have experience of Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment. Six people took part in the survey who are not already Social Security Experience Panel members.

About the participants

Information from the survey was added to information from the 'About Your Benefits and You'[1] and 'Social Security Experience Panels: Who is in the panels and their experiences so far'[2] surveys. The demographic data collected in these surveys was linked to the information supplied previously by participants.

However, linking was not possible where there was missing or unclear information. 93 respondents' data were linked to demographic information supplied previously. 105 respondent's data could be linked to location information supplied previously. The 6 people who responded who are not Experience Panels members provided their age bracket and postcode.

The following demographic information is given to give context to the findings from the survey. More detailed information about participants is available in Annex A.

Just over half (52 per cent) of respondents whose data we could link identified as a 'woman or girl' and almost half (48 per cent) as a 'man or boy'. Almost three in five (58 per cent) were aged between 60-79 years old and two per cent were aged 80 or over. Almost a third (32 per cent) were aged 45-59, and one in twelve (8 per cent) were aged 44 or under.

More than four in five (83 per cent) had a disability or long term health condition lasting 3 months or longer and almost two in five (39 per cent) had experience of being a carer. More than a third (36 per cent) of respondents had experience of Carer's Allowance, more than half (55 per cent) had experience of Disability Living Allowance and almost two thirds (63 per cent) had experience of Personal Independence Payment.

More than eight in ten (84 per cent) respondents whose data we could link live in an urban area, and one in six (16 per cent) in a rural area.[3]



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