Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made a number of announcements during his Autumn statement earlier today (Thursday 17 November), including plans to tackle inflation, increase the National Living Wage and a 10.1% rise in benefits and the State Pension.
Hunt said: “There is a global energy crisis, a global inflation crisis and a global economic crisis. But today with this plan for stability, growth and public services, we will face into the storm. We do so today with British resilience and British compassion.
“Because of the difficult decisions we take in our plan, we strengthen our public finances, bring down inflation and protect jobs.”
What’s the new cost of living payment?
In a bid to protect those who have been hit hardest by cost of living pressures, Hunt announced a package of targeted support worth £26 billion, which includes continued support for rising energy bills.
More than eight million households around the UK on means-tested benefits will receive a cost of living payment of £900 in instalments, with £300 for pensioners and £150 for people on disability benefits.
Hunt said that this payment will be introduced “next year”, with the payment made in more than one instalment. The DWP and HMRC are set to provide futher detail on the timing of these payments. The £300 cost of living payment for pensions is in addition to the means-tested benefit and disability payments, if eligble.
Over six million people across the UK on non-means-tested disability benefits will receive a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment in 2023-24, to help with the additional costs they face. This is in addition to the cost of living payments for households on means tested benefits and pensioner households, if eligible.
What does means-tested benefits mean?
Some government benefits are “means-tested” which essentially means that a potential recipient’s level of income and capital can affect their eligibility to claim said benefits. Means-tested benefits are available to those who can provide evidence that their income and capital are below a certain threshold.
So a person applying for one of these benefits will have their “means” (which refers to income, savings and capital) looked at to determine whether or not they qualify. If the government decides that your means are greater than what you need to live on, the benefit may be reduced, meaning how much someone receives can vary from person to person, or it may not be granted at all.
The government lists the following benefits as means-tested benefits eligble for the £900 cost of living payment:
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
What benefits am I eligible for?
If you’re not sure what benefits and financial support you are eligible for, you can check using the government website by checking out its list of support available. The different types of support are broken down into different categories, so you can easily check the sections that apply to you.
These categories are:
- Support with your income
- Support if you’re disabled
- Support with your bills
- Support with your childcare costs
- Support with your housing costs
- Support with your travel costs
- Support for your business
You can also use the online form on the government’s website, which asks questions about things like your location, age, employment status, health and other areas to help determine what support you might be able to claim. You should be aware however that this form does not include all the ways you can get help with living costs.