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Cost-of-Living Payments: Who is Getting Them and When?

Millions of individuals are currently receiving cost-of-living payments to alleviate the burden of higher expenses, and more payments are on the way.

The government has extended a scheme launched in 2022 to provide additional financial assistance to low-income households, pensioners, and some disabled individuals.

A parliamentary committee is currently investigating whether these payments are effectively reaching those who are most in need.

Types of Payments

The following cost-of-living payments are available:

  1. Means-Tested Benefits: Households on means-tested benefits will receive a total of £900 in three installments, distributed in spring, autumn, and spring 2024.
  2. Winter Payment for Pensioners: Pensioner households will receive £300 during the winter period to help with their expenses.
  3. Disability Benefits: People receiving certain disability benefits will receive a payment of £150.

Distribution and Eligibility

The first installment of £301 for individuals on means-tested benefits has already been paid to approximately eight million people starting from 25th April. Those who receive only tax credits, without any other qualifying benefits, received their payments slightly later, starting from 2nd May.

To be eligible for the £900 payment, households must receive one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or Pension Credit.

Individuals who receive new-style Employment and Support Allowance, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance, or new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance are not eligible unless they also receive Universal Credit.

Identifying and Reporting Issues

Recipients can identify the payment on their bank account by the reference «DWP COL» following their national insurance number.

Those who believe they should have received the payment but did not should contact the office responsible for their benefit or tax credits or report the issue through the appropriate channels.

Qualification Criteria and Backdating

To qualify for the latest installment, individuals must have claimed a benefits payment between 26th January and 25th February 2023 or received a payment for an assessment period ending between these dates.

Pensioner households may be able to backdate a new Pension Credit claim. It is worth noting that an estimated 850,000 pensioner households do not claim Pension Credit, which serves as a gateway to these additional payments.

Impact on Tax and Benefits

It is important to understand that these cost-of-living payments do not affect the amount of tax paid or the benefits and tax credits received.