Back to A-Z Help pages index

Cost of living support

As the cost of living continues to affect households across the UK, the government has announced a new package of payments to help most households claiming benefits.

The current guidance that we are aware of is covered below but this help page will be updated when new details become available.

If you’re receiving means-tested benefits

A £650 cost of living payment will be made to households on a low income who are entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (1)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (1)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit (2)
  • Child Tax Credit (2)
  • Pension Credit

(1) This doesn't include contribution-based or new-style JSA or ESA, as these are based on your national insurance contributions and not your household income.

(2) Your annual award needed to be least £26.

It's worth noting, you don't need to switch to Universal Credit to benefit from the extra payment as it also goes to all existing claimants, including people on old-style ‘legacy’ benefits and tax credits. 

How will the payments work?

The £650 will be split into two payments. The first will be for £326 and the second for £324.

Whether you're single or in a couple you will only get £650 as it's a payment for the household not the individual.

When will the payments be made?

The first payment will start to be made from mid July 2022 (or in the Autumn for people receiving tax credits) to anyone who was entitled to one of the qualifying benefits on 25 May 2022.

The second payment will be made in the Autumn of 2022 (or during the Winter for people receiving tax credits). There will be a qualifying date for this payment too, but it hasn't been announced yet.

Where possible, the payments will be made directly into your bank account, you won’t need to apply for them.

Important! If you're not already receiving benefits

Our overall message is:

Check whether you qualify, as even the smallest claim is worth AT LEAST £324

But the details are slightly different, based on whether you're:

Working age and applying for Universal Credit

If you were entitled to Universal Credit on the qualifying day of 25 May 2022 you will be eligible for both parts of the payment (i.e. £326 + £324). To be entitled on this date you would have needed to start your claim for Universal Credit, which ended up being successful, by 26 April 2022.

However, if you claimed after this date, or have not yet claimed, it's not too late. As long as you start your claim by the second qualifying date (not yet announced) you will receive part two (i.e. £324).

Use the calculator to check if you're entitled and read our Cost of living payments could give a boost to benefit take-up blog to check how to get the best chance of qualifying.

Pension age and applying for Pension Credit

If you were entitled to Pension Credit on the qualifying day of 25 May 2022, you will be eligible for both parts of the payment (i.e. £326 + £324). Importantly, because you can ask for a Pension Credit claim to be backdated for up to three months, this means you can start your claim up to 24 August 2022 and still get the full £650.

If you become eligible after 25 May 2022 (for example, due to your age) or start your claim after 25 August 2022 (but before the second qualifying date - not yet announced) you will receive part two (i.e. £324). 

Use the calculator to check if you're entitled.

If you’re receiving the Winter Fuel Payment

A £300 cost of living payment will be made to households who are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment.

The Winter Fuel Payment is an automatic tax-free payment (usually paying between £100 and £300 per person, depending on age and circumstances) to most people over pension credit age. For the winter of 2022 to 2023 this means people born on or before 25 September 1956.

The cost of living amount is on top of the original Winter Fuel Payment amount, which will be paid at the same time in November or December. The payment this winter will therefore be between £250 and £600 per person, depending on age and circumstances.

Where possible, the payments will be made directly into people’s bank accounts, they won’t need to apply for them.

If you’re receiving a disability benefit

A £150 cost of living payment will be made to people who are receiving, or have claimed, one of the following benefits:

  • 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

The payment will be made by the end of September to anyone who was receiving one of the qualifying benefits on 25 May 2022.

Where possible, the payments will be made directly into people’s bank accounts, they won’t need to apply for them.

If you’re not receiving any of the above or need extra help

All households with an electricity supply in England, Scotland and Wales, regardless of their income, will have £400 taken off their energy bills from October 2022. This was intended to be for £200 and a loan which would need to be repaid, but the Chancellor removed these conditions in May 2022.

The £400 will be applied as a reduction to each household's electricity bill, including where a prepayment meter is used. If a landlord is responsible for paying the bill the £400 should be passed onto the end user in some way.

Get in touch with your local authority

If you’re on a low income and struggling with essential costs such as food, energy bills, water bills and other essentials, your local council may be able to help. This might be if you're not receiving one of the payments above or you have extra costs to cover, for example if you're disabled or have a large household.

Find out more on our Extra help from your local council help page, or contact your council to see what help may be available.

up
loader