Cost of living payments and eligibility for the remainder of 2022

Goverment’s support measures attacked as insufficient as British public faces bleak winter

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 01 November 2022 10:48 GMT
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‘Where is your plan?’: Sir Keir Starmer challenges Tories over policies to tackle cost of living crisis

Former chancellor and now prime minister Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures earlier this year to help struggling families through the cost of living crisis, which looks set to get a great deal worse before it gets better.

Mr Sunak’s headline gesture was knocking £400 off household energy bills alongside a £650 one-off payment for around eight million households on means-tested benefits; a £300 one-off payment to over 8 million pensioner households to be paid alongside their Winter Fuel Payments (WFP); and a £150 one-off payment for around 6 million people across the UK who receive certain disability benefits.

As a Tory leadership candidate vying to succeed Boris Johnson this summer, Mr Sunak promised further handouts but he was ultimately beaten by Liz Truss, who moved quickly as prime minister to freeze Ofgem’s cap at £2,500 for two years.

That has since been scaled back to just six month by new chancellor Jeremy Hunt, taking us to April 2023 when the policy will be reviewed and new measures introduced, and Mr Sunak has replaced Ms Truss in Downing Street after a disastrous seven weeks in office, which could mean that further direct help is in the pipeline.

A miserable winter is still on the cards for millions of households with inflation at a 40-year-high of 10.1 per cent, sending the price of consumer goods and fuel rocketing while wages stagnate.

Here is a reminder of the support measures from the government, when they will be paid out and to whom.

£400 Energy Bill Discount

Every household with a domestic electricity connection will receive this discount to cushion the blow of soaring prices.

This replaces a planned £200 universal loan that was announced in February and met with instant derision, prompting it to be doubled and turned into a grant so that citizens are no longer required to pay it back.

Energy suppliers will apply it automatically to bills in monthly instalments, subtracting £66 from your total in October and November and £67 in December, January, February and March respectively.

You should contact your electricity provider if you have not received your first discount by the end of October.

£650 Cost of Living Payment

To qualify for this one-off relief measure, you must be in receipt of Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit or be entitled to a payment from one of the following means-tested benefits schemes during the assessment period of 26 April to 25 May 2022:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

Millions of people will now have received their first instalment of £326, most of which were paid out between 14 and 31 July, with the remaining £324 due in bank accounts this autumn.

That said, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said that more complex claims or those awaiting an award decision might have to wait a little longer while their cases are resolved.

The exception to the above is for those on Tax Credits, who will not receive their instalments until slightly later.

You can report a payment you believe to be missing here.

The £650 is paid per claim, so a couple living together would only be entitled to one payment.

Benefits claimants deemed ineligible for the payment are recipients of New Style Employment and Support Allowance, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance and New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance unless you also receive Universal Credit.

£300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

Pensioner households will receive this automatically and added to their WFP in November or December this year.

As with the above relief measures, there is no need to apply.

All you need to qualify is to be over the state pension age of 66 in the qualifying week of 19 to 25 September 2022 and to be in receipt of the WFP.

Given that the latter grant typically amounts to between £200 and £300 to cover energy costs, this is effectively a doubling of the money made available.

Again, this is paid per claim, so a couple living together would only be entitled to one payment.

The only conditions under which someone aged 66 or over might not qualify can be found here.

£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment

This grant will be paid out in September to eligible individuals who have already received one of a number of qualifying disability benefits prior to 25 May 2022.

These are:

  • 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

If you receive disability benefits from both the Ministry of Defence and the DWP, you will only receive one payout of £150, not two.

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