DWP secretary Mel Stride said: “The best way we can boost bank balances is by bearing down on inflation, but as we get there, we are ensuring the most vulnerable households are cushioned from high prices with a further cost of living payment.
“Alongside this, thousands of work coaches across the country are helping find work, increase their hours and boost their skills. I encourage anyone who wants to progress their career and strengthen their finances to visit their local jobcentre to find out what help is available.”
This comes amid fears that the government’s drive to get people into work will mean further sanctions for benefits claimants, or push people into work that is unsuitable.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt added: “It is right we are helping the most vulnerable in our society and this latest cost of living payment is part of a package of support worth £3,300 per household on average over this year and last to help those struggling the most.”
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.
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 31 October and 19 November 2023.
The first cost of living payment of 2023 was paid between 25 April and 17 May. This was £301. A third of £299 will be paid in spring 2024.
There is a chance payments 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 receiving one of these benefits between 18 August 2023 and 17 September 2023. If you received a payment during an assessment period for these benefits between these dates, you will also be eligible.
From HMRC, you need to have received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period between 18 August 2023 and 17 September 2023.
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 £300 between them for this second payment.
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. In this case, payment will show as ‘HMRC COLS’ in bank and building society accounts, so that people know the money is cost of living support.
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How will the cost of living payment be paid?
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.
This payment is tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
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.
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.
Will I get the disability cost of living payment on PIP?
A separate £150 disability cost of living payment has already been paid to disabled people who receive certain benefits. Around six million people received this payment between 20 June and 4 July.
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.
There are no further payments planned this year.
How do I report a missing cost of living payment?
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 do I avoid cost of living payment scams?
The government warns people to “beware of scams targeting cost of living payments”. If someone contacts you about this payment saying they are from HMRC or DWP, it might be a scam.
You do not need to apply for the cost of living payment in 2023, and official bodies like the DWP and HMRC will never ask for your bank details by SMS or email. You can find advice on spotting scams by visiting the government’s website.
Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, so the National Security Cyber Centre will investigate it, and texts to 7726, which will report the text to your mobile phone provider.
Where can I get cost of living support?
At the Big Issue, we want to help get you through the cost of living crisis. Here are some of our articles with extensive information to help you navigate the circumstances at the moment.
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