The last low-income cost of living payment for 2023 was paid to eligible households on Sunday 19 November.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) sent the grant to more than eight million of the UK’s most vulnerable households, as the country continues to struggle with a cost of living crisis, soaring energy and food prices, and inflation.
Eligible people will receive £900 in total, which is being paid in three instalments.
The first payment of £301 was paid during April and May, with the second being paid in early November.
The tax-free cash will show up on your bank statements as your national insurance number followed by either DWP COL or HMRC COLS.
The third and final instalment is set to be paid in spring 2024.
What other financial support is available this winter?
Winter fuel payment
Older people can expect to receive the winter fuel payment, also known as a “heating allowance”, over the next few weeks.
This annual tax-free payment from the DWP is made automatically in November and December to help older people heat their homes during the colder months.
Beforehand, you will receive a letter telling you how much you will get, and which bank account it will be paid into. This is normally the same account as your state pension or other benefits.
Find out more about the winter fuel payment, including eligibility, here.
Pensioner cost of living payment
There is a cost of living payment for pensioners that comes in addition to the annual winter fuel payment, which is a grant for older people to help them heat their homes during the colder months.
The payment is worth between £150 and £300, depending on your circumstances, meaning some pensioners will receive as much as £600 when they get their winter fuel payment.
You are generally eligible for the winter fuel payment if you were born before 25 September, 1957 and live in the UK. You only need to have lived in the UK for the week from 18-24 September, 2023 to qualify.
If you live in a care home you will still be eligible, unless you lived there for the whole period from 26 June to 24 September, 2023 and receive pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance.
You will not be eligible if you:
- have been in hospital getting free treatment for more than a year
- need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave says that you cannot claim public funds
- were in prison for the whole of the week of 18-24 September, 2023
Most payments are made automatically in November or December. Beforehand, you will receive a letter telling you how much you will get, and which bank account it will be paid into. This is normally the same account as your state pension or other benefits.
Find out how much you could get, and whether you need to apply, here.
Warm home discount
The warm home discount enables eligible people to get £150 off their electricity bill during the winter. The money is not paid to you – it is a one-off discount applied to your electricity bill between early October 2023 and 31 March, 2024.
If you live in England and Wales, you qualify if you either get the guarantee credit element of pension credit, or are on a low income and have high energy costs.
If you live in Scotland, you must either qualify for the guarantee credit element of pension credit, or be on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
If you quality for the guarantee element of pension credit:
You qualify for the discount if on 13 August, 2023 all of the following applied:
If you are on a low income:
To qualify through a low income, you must receive one of the following means-tested benefits to get the warm home discount:
- Housing benefit
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- The savings credit part of pension credit
- Universal credit
You could also qualify if your household income falls below a certain threshold and you get either:
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
Your property must also have a high energy cost score for you to be eligible for the scheme. This is not based on the actual energy costs in your energy bill. It is calculated based on your property’s type, age and floor area.
Check if you’re eligible for the discount online here.
You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
Will Christmas impact my benefits payment dates?
Government support in the form of benefits and pension payments will go out as usual in December, but payment dates will differ slightly because Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day all fall on a bank holiday in 2023.
This means that anyone expecting to receive any of the following payments from the DWP on Saturday 23, Sunday 24, Monday 25 or Tuesday 26 December can expect to receive their money on Friday 22 December instead.
Those expecting to receive any of the following payments on Saturday 30 or Sunday 31 December, or Monday 1 January, can expect to receive this on Friday 29 December instead.
- Universal credit
- State pension
- Pension credit
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Attendance allowance
- Carer’s allowance
- Employment support allowance
- Income support
- Jobseeker’s allowance
For more information on how and when state benefits are paid, please visit the government’s website.