The Department for Work and Pensions has started issuing the second low-income cost of living payment of 2023.

The grant is being sent to more than eight million of the country’s most vulnerable households as the UK continues to battle high energy prices and inflation, which remained at 6.7 per cent in September’s figures.

In total, eligible people will receive £900, which is being paid in three instalments. The first payment, of £301, was made between April and May, and the second should hit people’s bank accounts in the coming days.

Here’s everything you need to know about that payment, as well as the other support available to people in 2023.

When is the next cost of living payment?

DWP will issue the next payment to most eligible claimants between Tuesday 31 October and Sunday 19 November.

People who are eligible solely through tax credits will receive it from HMRC between Friday 10 November and Sunday 19 November. The later start date is to avoid duplicate payments.

The payment will be of £300. It is tax free, will not count towards the benefit cap and does not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

You do not need to apply for the payment. If you are eligible, you should receive it automatically.

The payment reference for bank accounts will be the recipient’s national insurance number followed by “DWP COL” or “HMRC COLSD”.

Cost of living payment eligibility explained

The grant is being paid to people who receive the following benefits:

  • universal credit;
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance;
  • income-related employment and support allowance;
  • income support;
  • pension credit;
  • working tax credit;
  • child tax credit.

To be eligible for the upcoming payment from the DWP, you must have been entitled to a payment for a qualifying benefit between 18 August and 17 September, or a payment for an assessment period ending between these dates.

If you are receiving the payment from HMRC, you must have received a payment of tax credits for any day between 18 August and 17 September.

People will not be eligible for the payment if their qualifying benefit is reduced to nil for the qualifying period. This is sometimes called a “nil award”. Reasons a benefit may be reduced to £0 include:

  • you got more than one payment of earnings in your universal credit assessment period;
  • your or your partner’s earnings went up;
  • your or your partner’s savings went up;
  • you started getting another benefit;
  • you got a sanction because you did not do something you agreed in your claimant commitment.

You may still be eligible for the payment if your benefit is reduced to nil and one of the following applies:

  • money was taken off your benefit for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe;
  • you had a hardship payment because you could not pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.

When is the final cost of living payment?

There will be a final payment of £299 in the spring of 2024.

The slightly different payment amounts are to make it easier for the DWP and HMRC to track which grants people have received, in order to minimise fraud risk.

There will be different qualifying dates for this payment, which the Government will release closer to the time.

What other support is available in 2023?

The pensioner cost of living payment and warm home discount will also be paid out in the coming months. Here’s what you need to know about each.

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 also 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 get 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 as 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 get 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 get 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:

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.

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