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Help with cost of living on its way

There’s currently a lot of information out there on the cost of living and support available, which sometimes can feel a little overwhelming and confusing. Our Moneywise team have put together this easy-to-read summary of what help is coming and the government support you could be entitled to.

Cost of Living payments

Low-income households

Millions of people on means-tested benefits will automatically receive a total of £650 from the government to help relieve the cost of living pressures.

In July, you should have received your first Cost of Living payment of £326 from DWP if the following criteria applied to you: Between the assessment period of 26th April to 25th May 2022, you were receiving a means-tested benefit. These benefits include Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income related employment and support allowance, income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance.

For those eligible, the second Cost of Living payment of £324 will be paid from 8th November, with most payments due to be made between 23rd & 30th November (updated 20th October 2022).

Tax credits

For those on tax credits during the same assessment period as above (and no other eligible benefits), you’ll automatically receive the same first Cost of Living payment between 2nd and 7th September and the second in the New Year (updated 4th November 2022), from HMRC.

Disability benefits

For those who were receiving disability benefits on 25th May 2022, you’ll receive a one-off, automatic, additional Cost of Living payment of £150 from 20th September. This is to help with extra costs such as specialist equipment or transport.

Pensioners

In the Winter months, pensioners can get between £100-£300 as a Winter Fuel Payment to help with heating bills. This year, you’ll receive an extra, one-off £300 Cost of Living payment to top-up the Winter Fuel Payment, at the same time. Winter Fuel Payments are usually paid automatically in November without needing to make a claim if you already get a state pension. This is in addition to any Cost of Living payment you get with benefit or tax credits.

Energy bill discount

Every household will receive £400 off their energy bills from this October. This automatic, non-repayable discount will be in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 to help you through the Winter months. This energy discount is in addition to any Cost of Living payments mentioned above.

If you pay by a pre-payment meter and do not have a smart pre-payment meter, your utility company will send you a voucher either by text or email. It’s important that your utility company has your up-to-date contact details or you could miss out!

Warm Home Discount

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for this Winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount deducted from your electricity bill. The scheme opens in November. Find out if you qualify here https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme. For more information see The new Warm Home Discount Scheme for 2022/23 · Debt Camel.

Need further help?

Remember, our Moneywise team are here to help with any benefits and money advice:

MyRaven

Email: moneywise@ravenht.org.uk

Call: 0300 123 3399

As a Raven customer, you’re also entitled to free, confidential and impartial help through Reigate and Banstead Citizens Advice Bureau. You can contact them directly on 0808 278 7945.

We can also refer you to our Customer Support Fund if you’re struggling financially and have no other sources of help. For more details see www.ravenht.org.uk/customer-support-fund

FAQs

  1. How do I apply for the Cost of Living Payments?
    You do not need to apply for Cost of Living payments. If you are eligible, you will be paid automatically in the same way that you usually receive benefits or tax credits.
  2. Will these payments affect other benefits?
    These payments are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you already receive.
  3. How will I know if I am eligible?
    To get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of either Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022 or income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

    For Tax Credits, to get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have received a payment, or an annual award of at least £26, of tax credits for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.The government has not yet announced when the qualifying dates for the second payment of £324 will be, once they do we’ll update here.
  4. Why are the two amounts – £326 and £324 – slightly different?
    This is to help you identify that you have received both payments and to avoid the risk of fraud and duplicate payments.
  1. What if I get child tax credit and working tax credit?
    If you get both child tax credit and working tax credit, you will receive one set of Cost of Living payments, linked to Child Tax Credit only.
  1. I get additional benefits. Will this affect how much I receive?
    If you receive tax credits from HMRC or a qualifying low-income benefit from DWP, you will receive a Cost of Living Payment from the respective organisation. If you also get a qualifying disability benefit, you may receive an additional Disability Cost of Living payment from DWP.
  1. Why are tax credit customers getting paid later?
    It’s possible to be entitled to both tax credits and other eligible benefits which are administered by DWP. So, HMRC will make payments to eligible customers receiving tax credits only, shortly after DWP, to avoid duplicate payments.

Useful links

See our related blog on the energy price guarantee: https://www.ravenht.org.uk/2022/09/14/energy-price-guarantee

Government Cost of Living eligibility guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

Government Help for Households campaign: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/

Energy saving advice: https://www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency

Energy saving tips from Money Saving Expert: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/energy-saving-tips 

Online benefits checkers: https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/

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