As the cost of living continues to affect households across the UK, the government has announced a new package of payments to help most households claiming benefits.
The current guidance that we are aware of is covered below. This help page will be updated when new details become available.
- If you’re receiving means-tested benefits
- If you’re receiving the Winter Fuel Payment
- If you’re receiving a disability benefit
- If you’re not receiving any of the above or need extra help
Cost of living payments worth up to £900 will be made by the Department for Work and Pensions to households on a low income who are entitled to one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (1)
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (2)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (2)
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
(1) You won't be eligible if you had a 'nill award', where your earnings reduced your Universal Credit to £0, during the relevant qualification date.
(2) This doesn't include contribution-based or new-style JSA or ESA, as these are based on your national insurance contributions and not your household income.
For full eligibility criteria, see Cost of Living Payment on Gov.uk
How will the payments work?
The £900 will be split into 3 payments of £301, £300 and £299.
Whether you're single or in a couple you will only get £900 as it's a payment for the household not the individual.
When will the payments be made?
For most people, the first payment of £301 will be made between 25 April and 17 May (or between 2 and 9 May 2023 for people receiving tax credits) to anyone who was entitled to one of the qualifying benefits between 26th January and 25th February 2023.
The second payment will be made in the Autumn of 2023, and the third in Spring 2024. There will be qualifying dates for these payments too, which will be announced on gov.uk.
Where possible, the payments will be made directly into your bank account, you won’t need to apply for them.
Important! If you're not already receiving benefits
Our overall message is that even the smallest benefit payment means you'll get extra support. So check whether you qualify.
But the details are slightly different, based on whether you're::
Working age and applying for Universal Credit
You are eligible for the first Cost of Living Payment of £301 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023.
Pension age and applying for Pension Credit
You are eligible for the first Cost of Living Payment of £301 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023.
You are also eligible if you are entitled to one of these benefits for any day during this period but you do not receive a benefit payment because your entitlement is between 1 penny and 9 pence.
Eligible households won’t need to apply for them.
The Winter Fuel Payment is an automatic tax-free payment (usually paying between £150 and £300 per person, depending on age and circumstances) to most people over pension credit age. For the winter of 2023 to 2024 this means people born before 25 September 1957.
The cost of living amount is on top of the original Winter Fuel Payment amount, which will be paid at the same time in November or December. The payment this winter will therefore be between £250 and £600 per person, depending on age and circumstances.
A £150 cost of living payment will be made by the Department for Work and Pensions to people who are receiving, or have claimed, one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
The qualifying payment date has not been announced, for updates see Gov.uk. The payment will start to be made from during Summer 2023.
Applications are not necessary to qualify for this payment.
When you do a benefits calculation, as well as listing your benefits entitlements, you will be told if you are eligible for any other entitlements. This includes the Cold Weather Payment, boiler or insulation grants, free school meals / Healthy start (England and Wales) / Best start (Scotland), free TV licence and many more.
Check if you may be entitled to any reduction in your Council Tax.
See different information about payments, including how to opt to pay your current bill to March rather than January to reduce your payments at How to pay your Council Tax.
Get in touch with your utility providers
- Gas and Electric: Many of the big energy firms provide grants to help people who are behind with payments. These are mainly allocated to the company's own customers but sometimes to anyone who applies. MoneySavingExpert.com has a list of the grants available.
- Telecoms: If you are claiming benefits you may be able to apply for a social tariff for your broadband, landline or mobile which could save you £100s per year. The telecoms regulator ofcom has a list of the social tariffs available.
- Water: If you are claiming benefits or on a low income you may be able to apply for a social tariff or other help to pay for your water bill (or any arrears you may be in). The ccwater website has a list of help that may be available in your area.
- Mobile and broadband: Find out if you could be eligible for cheaper mobile and broadband bills.