The Government has assured cash-strapped households that two further cost of living payments will be landing in bank accounts over the next financial year. And those who aren’t eligible for the £900 cash boost may be able to get support from an extension to the Household Support Fund.
A payment of £300 is due this autumn for millions of households who qualify. Some benefit claimants have reported jobcentres alerting them to an October date, while consumer champion Martin Lewis predicted the next payment would land between October and November.
Another cost of living payment worth £299 in then due in the spring of 2024. On top of the £300 handed out in April/May, this will mean low-income individuals and families in receipt of either tax credits or five means-tested DWP benefits will receive a £900 package of support.
As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, the focus for many has been on the arrival of the next cost of living payment, along with how much benefits will increase in the next financial year. Angela Crawley, Scottish National Party MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, asked if the DWP had assessed the impact of the rise in the cost of living on working families who qualify or do not qualify for Universal Credit.
In a written response issued this week (September 11) Mims Davies, Conservative MP for Mid Sussex and Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions), admitted “no such assessments have been made” specific to Universal Credit recipients but then went on to outline the DWP’s response to soaring household costs.
She said: “The Government understands the pressures people, including parents, are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help. Overall, we are providing total support of over £94bn over 2022-23 and 2023-24 to help households and individuals with the rising cost of bills. “From April 2023, everyone who receives a state benefit or pension will have seen their benefit rates increase by 10.1 per cent.
“In order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions, the benefit cap levels have also increased by the same amount. To support parents who are in work, from 1 April, the National Living Wage (NLW) increased by 9.7 per cent to £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over - the largest ever cash increase for the NLW.
“We recognise that high childcare costs can affect parents’ decisions to take up paid work or increase their working hours. That is why, as announced at the Spring Budget, we are investing billions in additional childcare support for parents of toddlers, investing in wraparound childcare in schools, and increasing financial support for, and expectations of, parents claiming Universal Credit.”
She added: “Households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments. The first £301 payments have been issued to 8.3 million households, and two further payments will follow this autumn and in spring 2024.”
When are the cost of living payments paid?
If you’re entitled, you will receive, or have already received:
£301 paid between 25 April 2023 and 17 May 2023 for most people on DWP benefits
£301 paid between 2 and 9 May 2023 for most people on tax credits and no other low income benefits
£300 paid during autumn 2023 for most people
£299 paid during spring 2024 for most people
If you qualify for cost of living payments, you don’t need to apply for them - you should be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefits or tax credits. If you get benefits from the DWP, the reference for the payment will be ‘DWP COLP’, along with your national insurance number. For Tax Credits-only recipients, the payment reference will be ‘HMRC COLS’.
Who is eligible for the cost of living payment?
You are eligible for the £900 cost of living payment if you are claiming the following benefits:
Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
Income-related employment and support allowance
Working tax credit
Child tax credit
The assessment period for these payments ran from January 26 to February 25 2023. The Government advises that if your benefit was reduced to £0 during this period, also known as a “nil award”, you will not be eligible for the cost of living payment.
What other cost of living support is there?
The Government is issuing further support as well as the £900 cost of living payment to eligible people this year. This includes a payment worth £150 for people with disabilities and £300 for pensioner in 2023.
It means that some people will receive support of up to £1,350. If you claim any of the following, you should be eligible for the £150 disability payment:
disability living allowance
personal independence payment
Scottish disability benefits
Armed Forces independence payment
constant attendance allowance
war pension mobility supplement
The Government has said most of the people eligible for the £150 cost of living payment received the money automatically between June 20 and July 4. It added: “Your payment might come later, for example if you’re awarded a qualifying benefit at a later date or you change the account your benefit is paid into. You will still be paid the cost of living payment automatically.”
Low-income households are also being encouraged to contact their local council to see what support is available through the Household Support Fund. Mel Stride, secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “These payments will give a financial boost to more than 8 million households as we continue to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable, while the best way we can protect people from high costs is to halve inflation by the end of this year.”
For more informaton visit the Gov.uk website.