A £900 cost of living payment is being paid to millions of the country’s most vulnerable households as the UK continues to battle high energy prices and soaring inflation.
It is being issued in three instalments of slightly different amounts – which makes it easier for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC to prevent fraud – and the first, of £301, was paid out in spring.
Eligible claimants are awaiting Government confirmation of when they will receive the next instalment, of £300, and the final payment for £299.
When is the next cost of living payment?
Precise dates for the final two payments are yet to be confirmed by the Government (you can see the latest details here).
However, it advises that the next grant of £300 will be issued in autumn 2023 for most people, with the final payment following in spring 2024.
Depending on how the season is calculated, autumn can either span from the start of September to the end of November, or from the date of the autumnal equinox (23 September in 2023) until the winter solstice (22 December).
Given that the first of these is the common definition, it would seem likely that the payment would arrive before the end of November 2023.
At the start of this year Martin Lewis, the founder of Money Saving Expert, guessed that the second payment would be made in October or November, with the final instalment arriving before the end of the tax year on 6 April 2024 – but no official details have been provided.
Do I need to apply for the cost of living payment?
All payments will be sent out automatically and directly to recipients – those eligible do not need to apply or do anything in order to receive it.
The payment reference for bank accounts should be “DWP COL” or “DWP COLP”, along with the claimant’s national insurance number.
Just like the previous £650 support from last year, payments are tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap and do not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
Who’s eligible for a £300 cost of living payment in autumn?
The £900 is being paid to people who receive any of the following benefits (you can see the full criteria here):
- Universal credit
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Pension credit
- Working tax credit
- Child tax credit
For the first cost of living payment, the assessment period for these ran broadly from Thursday 26 January to Saturday 25 February 2023, but the rules around the final two grants are yet to be confirmed – you can find out full details here.
If your benefit was reduced to £0 during the qualification period – sometimes called a “nil award” – you will not be eligible for the cost of living payment, the Government advises.
When was the first cost of living payment?
The roll-out of the first part of the £900 payment started for people on means-tested benefits on Tuesday 25 April.
Just like last year’s cost of living payments, the schedule is slightly different for people who qualify solely through the receipt of tax credits from the HMRC (rather than low-income benefits).
For this reason, these claimants were scheduled to receive their first payment from HMRC between Tuesday 2 May and Tuesday 9 May.
If you believe you are due a cost of living payment but haven’t received one yet, you can contact the Government via a form on their website to make a claim.