You could be one of millions of people eligible for a cost of living payment. Image: Alaur Rahman/ Pexels
Millions of low-income families will receive a £301 cost of living payment in spring 2023.
Around 8 million families on means-tested benefits will receive cost of living payments over the next year. The payments will be made in three instalments by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and total £900.
The DWP has confirmed that the next cost of living payments for most people on eligible benefits will hit bank accounts between April 25 and May 17.
DWP secretary Mel Stride said: “These direct payments will help people right across the UK over this year and the start of the next, as we continue to provide consistent, targeted and substantial support for the most vulnerable.”
The chancellor Jeremy Hunt added: “These payments are the next part of the significant support we are providing through this challenging time, with millions of vulnerable households receiving £900 directly into their bank accounts this financial year alongside additional help for pensioners and those with disabilities.
“This latest payment will provide some temporary relief, but the best thing we can do to help families and businesses is to stick to the plan to halve inflation this year.”
Here’s everything you need to know – including when you will get the cost of living payments in 2023, who is eligible, how much you will receive, whether you could get the disability and pensioner cost of living payment. We also explain other support you can get like the energy rebate and winter fuel payment.
What date will I get the next cost of living payment?
Most people on DWP benefits will receive the next cost of living payment between April 25, 2023 and May 17, 2023.
A second cost of living payment of £300 will be made in autumn, and a third of £299 will be paid in spring 2024.
If you get tax credits, and no other low-income benefits, you’ll get your cost of living payment from HMRC shortly after the DWP payments are made.
There is a chance your payment could be paid late – such as if you are made eligible for a qualifying benefit at a later date or you change the bank account your benefit or tax credits are paid into.
Who gets the cost of living payment?
People receiving certain benefits or tax credits are eligible for the cost of living payment. This includes: universal credit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), income support, pension credit, child tax credit and working tax credit.
You also have to have been eligible for these benefits by a certain date. You will be eligible for the first cost of living payment if you were entitled to benefits for the assessment period between January 26 and February 25 (or the DWP finds that you were eligible during this time).If you get both child tax credit and working tax credit you’ll only receive a cost of living payment for child tax credit. If you get tax credits from HMRC and a benefit from the DWP, you’ll only receive the cost of living payment from the DWP.
Couples with a joint claim will only receive single payments of £301, £300 and £299 between them.
You will not get a payment if you are only getting the new style employment and support allowance, contributory employment and support allowance, or new style jobseeker’s allowance.
If your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period, you will also not be eligible. This is sometimes called ‘nil award’ and refers to when you stop getting benefits for a variety of reasons. This could be because your earnings go up (or your partner’s earnings go up), you start getting another benefit or your savings go up.
If you are getting tax credits from HMRC and a low-income benefit from DWP, you will only get the one cost of living payment. It is likely to be paid by the DWP.
The cost of living payments will be paid into bank accounts automatically, in the same way as you get your benefits or tax credits. They will be paid separately to your benefits. You don’t need to apply or do anything.
When will I get the pensioner cost of living payment?
Pensioners who are eligible for the winter fuel payment will receive an additional £150 or £300 cost of living payment during winter 2023/24.
This is in addition to the means-tested benefit and disability payments, if eligible.
The payment to pensioners will be paid to all households in receipt of winter fuel payments, in the same way as payments were made in 2022.
A total of 1.4 million pensioners are also expected to be paid the means-tested cost of living payment through pension credit. This would come on top of their pensioner cost of living payment.
How much is the winter fuel payment for pensioners?
The winter fuel payment is anywhere between £250 and £600 depending on your circumstances.
If you’re entitled to a winter fuel payment for winter 2023 to 2024, you will also get an extra £150 or £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2023.
This is known as the pensioner cost of living payment and is in addition to any cost of living payments you get with your benefit or tax credits.
The full amount you get depends on when you were born and your circumstances during the qualifying dates. You will be sent a letter in October or November telling you how much winter fuel payment you’ll get if you’re eligible.
You can get a winter fuel payment in the upcoming winter if you were born before 24 September 1957.
The eligible benefits are the attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance, disability living allowance for adults and children, personal independence payment (PIP), adult and child disability payment in Scotland, armed forces independence payment and the war pension mobility supplement.
For disabled people on low-incomes, this payment comes on top of the other cost of living payments. You don’t have to claim the disability cost of living payment. It will be paid automatically into your bank account if you are eligible.
If you get a qualifying benefit from the Ministry of Defence and a qualifying benefit from DWP, you will just get the one disability cost of living payment. This will be from the DWP.
Payments will be made to people getting benefits from the DWP before people getting benefits from the Ministry of Defence.
How do I report a missing cost of living payment?
If you think you should have had a cost of living payment, but you cannot see it in your bank, building society or credit union account, you can report it as missing to the office that pays your benefit.
There should have been a payment of £326 paid in July 2022 for most people on benefits, £324 paid in November 2022, and a £150 disability cost of living payment paid in September 2022.
If you think you should have had a cost of living payment but you can’t see it in your bank account, you can report it through the government’s website.
Before reporting a missing payment, you should check your bank, building society or credit union account, or your payment exception service voucher receipt.
How will I get the £400 energy rebate?
On top of the cost of living payment, all households have got a £400 energy rebate. This has been paid in six instalments every month between October 2022 and March 2023. The £400 energy rebate scheme will come to an end for the majority of UK households in April.
Most households will have had the money hit their bank accounts automatically every month since October.
The difference is if you are on a traditional prepayment meter. If you have a meter with a top-up key or card, your redeemable vouchers will either be sent by text, email or post, or you will get an automatic credit when you top up at your usual top up point. The way it is paid varies by supplier and your usual payment method.
You need to make sure that your energy supplier has correct and updated contact details for you in order to get the payment. Your supplier will then let you know how to get your discount and where to redeem your vouchers. This will be at a top-up point like your local post office or PayPoint shop. Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.
For most suppliers, the voucher should have arrived by 17th of each month and is only valid for 90 days. If you haven’t had your vouchers yet, contact your electricity supplier as they should still be able to get you the money you are owed.
Households without a direct relationship to an electricity supplier, such as those living in park homes, houseboats, mobile homes and care homes are now able to get the £400 energy rebate as part of a new scheme.
This means an additional 900,000 people will benefit. You should apply for the energy bills support scheme if you don’t get it automatically through the government’s online portal.
After you apply, your local council will carry out checks and you’ll be told about the progress of your application by email or letter. You should get a response within six weeks. If you are eligible, your council will arrange a one-off payment of £400 which you do not have to pay back.
You can email the helpline team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0808 175 3287 if you need help with the application.
If you are struggling to pay your bills, your energy supplier is obligated to help. Many companies offer grants and will work out a plan to help you pay your bills. You can also contact Citizens Advice or your local council.