The first part of a one-off £650 cost of living payment will be paid to Universal Credit claimants from next month. The money is being given to those who claim means-tested benefits to help with rising bills and means they will be £326 better off with the first payment.
The total is being split into two payments – but exactly when you’ll get it depends on the type of benefits you claim. The first instalment will start to hit Universal Credit claimants’ bank accounts from July 14.
The second payment of £324 is then expected to be sent to eligible households in the autumn, if you claim Universal Credit. The new support was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month to help struggling families cope with the cost of living crisis, the Mirror reports.
It comes as energy bills are expected to reach £2,8000 in October, on top of a 54% increase already taken place this year. Families are also dealing with a surge in the cost of food in supermarkets – while the price of petrol and diesel at the pumps has reached record highs.
The £650 payment is being awarded to those who claim means-tested benefits. This includes:
- Child Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
If you claim Universal Credit, income-related ESA and JSA, Income Support or Pension Credit, you’ll get your first payment from July 14 with everyone expected to be paid by July 31. The second instalment should arrive in the autumn.
Those who claim tax credits will receive their first payment slightly later, with this not expected to be processed until the autumn, with a second payment to follow in winter. The payments are being issued automatically to eligible households. They are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you get.
What help is available for those not eligible?
Other cost of living payments have been confirmed by the Chancellor. This includes £150 for those who claim certain disability benefits and £300 for pensioners in receipt of Winter Fuel Payments.
Every home in England, Scotland and Wales will also receive £400 off their energy bills, spread out over six months from October. This is in replacement of the hated £200 “loan-not-loan” that had originally been announced last year.
The £200 was widely criticised as being counter-productive for families, as it had to be repaid at a rate of £40 per year from 2023. This scheme will no longer happen now, as it has been replaced by the £400 discount off your energy bills.
This money will not need to be paid back. The Household Support Fund has also been extended again by another £500million.
Some of the help that is offered through the Household Support Fund includes money towards your bills and supermarket vouchers. However, the support does vary between councils – as well as the eligibility criteria – which means you face a postcode lottery in terms of the help available to you.
Local councils will be able to provide further details on how it is distributing the cash.