About £75,000 of cold weather payments will be issued by the UK Government after temperatures plummeted.
Almost 3,000 residents of Aviemore, Braemar and Loch Glascarnoch in the north of Scotland will be the first to benefit from the £25 payments which are issued automatically if temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing for seven consecutive days.
Last winter a record 17 million cold weather payments were made, worth an estimated £430 million.
Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: "Cold weather payments provide real help to the most vulnerable people and that is why we took action to permanently increase them to £25 from the budgeted rate of £8.50.
"We don't want people to worry about turning up their heating when temperatures plummet."
About four million people are potentially eligible for the payments. More than two million of these are pensioners who receive pension credit. Payments are also made to disabled adults and children, and families with children under five and who receive an income-related benefit.
Other help is also available to older people this winter, including winter fuel payments paid at the rate of £200 for households with a woman who has reached state pension age and is aged under 80, and £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over.
Pensioners can also receive help with insulating costs through the Warm Front scheme and more than 600,000 pensioners on only the guarantee credit element of pension credit will also receive a rebate of £120 on their electricity bills this winter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
© 2011 Press Association