£300 cost of living support payment to be paid from October 31 but who exactly will qualify?
Cash payments worth £300 are being given to more than eight million households from this month.
The extra financial help, arriving in time for Christmas, is being allocated to those deemed to be struggling most with the cost of living – so who is likely to be in line for the money?
Help for millions of people
The £300 is known as a cost of living payment. It comes tax free and won’t need to be paid back by those who are given it.
It is the second of three payments – which add up to £900 in total – that will be sent to millions of UK families to help them with their daily living costs as the UK moves into winter when some outgoings, like energy bills, can become more expensive.
The first payment – of £301 – was sent out earlier this year and the final sum – of a similar value - will arrive in early 2024 for those deserving of the money.
Anyone currently deemed eligible will get their money between Tuesday, October 31 and Sunday, November 19.
The decision to give millions of people extra cash this year to try and help them keep their heads above water follows the success of previous cost of living support payments, worth £650, handed out in 2022.
Who can claim?
The money is being given to those on means-tested benefits to give them – as described by the government – a ‘financial boost’.
People who qualify for the upcoming cost of living support payment will already be claiming one of the following benefits:
* Universal Credit
* Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
* Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
* Income Support
* Working Tax Credit
* Child Tax Credit
* Pension Credit
To get the money this autumn from the DWP, you also need to have been entitled to a payment from one of the above benefits between August 18 and September 17.
Claimants eligible for the £300 solely through tax credits, and not through DWP means-tested benefits, will get their money instead from HMRC shortly after the DWP payments begin filtering through. For money from HMRC, you need to have received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period also running between August 18 and September 17.
How to claim?
Those who have been automatically identified as being entitled to extra help by officials, do not need to apply for the payment or do anything to receive it.
Instead, money will arrive with the payment reference that includes the recipient’s National Insurance Number followed by DWP COL or HMRCCOLS.
While the money will start trickling into accounts from October 31 – the payment window is staggered meaning that not everyone will get it on the same day.
Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 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.”
What about the elderly?
The DWP continues to encourage low-income pensioners not already getting Pension Credit to check their eligibility as – because of Pension Credit backdating rules – they could still qualify for both this second Cost of Living Payment as well as the third payment due next spring.
Over eight million pensioner households will also be given an extra £300 payment later this year in addition to their Winter Fuel Payment to help people meet the demands of higher winter bills.
However exact payment dates for this money have yet to be released.