Thousands of people across the UK are being urged to check if they are eligible to receive a £301 cost of living payment before the deadline passes.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has warned there are only days left to claim Pension Credit and still qualify for the payment, which will be sent directly into bank accounts this spring.
A claim for Pension Credit must be made before Friday 19 May to qualify and can be backdated for up to three months, providing the applicant was also eligible to receive it during that time.
Pension Credit is designed to help people over State Pension age and on a low income with daily living costs, but you do not need to be in receipt of State Pension to receive it. The benefit, which is worth more than £3,500 a year on average, tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners and to £306.85 for couples or more if a person has a disability or caring responsibilities.
There are now just 10 days left for people to claim Pension Credit and still qualify for the £301 payment. Pensioners can check their eligibility and get an estimate of what they may receive by using the government’s online pension credit calculator.
Minister for Pensions Laura Trott said: “Pension Credit can make a real difference and I am determined to make sure this support – worth an average of £3,500 a year – is reaching everyone who needs it, particularly as we know how much pressure households across the country have been under.
“Please check if you or your loved ones can claim for this extra support, and if you do it by 19 May you could qualify for the £301 Cost of Living Payment – giving another financial boost to those who need it most.”
More than eight million households across the UK will receiving a £301 cost of living payment this spring. It is the first instalment of three payments totalling up to £900 to help those on means-tested benefits with rising bills.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed the first £301 payment will be sent to eligible households between 25 April and 17 May. To be eligible for the government support, households must be claiming one of the following means-tested benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
The payment will be issued automatically and directly to those who are eligible, meaning claimants do not need to apply or do anything to receive it. The payment reference for bank accounts will be “DWP COL”, along with the claimant’s national insurance number.
Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “These payments will give a financial boost to more than eight million households as we continue to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable, while the best way we can protect people from high costs is to halve inflation by the end of this year.”
In general, to be eligible for the new £301 payment, someone must have been entitled to a payment of a qualifying benefit within a certain timeframe.
For Universal Credit, if someone had an assessment period ending between 26 January 2023 and 25 February 2023 that resulted in an entitlement to money, they will also be entitled to the £301 payment. For other DWP means-tested benefits, people generally should have received a payment between 26 January and 25 February 2023 to qualify.
The DWP is also encouraging low income pensioners not already getting pension credit to check their eligibility, as they can still qualify for the £301 payment if they make a successful backdated pension credit application by 19 May.
Households on low incomes are also being encouraged to contact their local council to see what support is available for essential food and energy costs through the household support fund.
Those who are eligible for the £301 payment solely through tax credits and are not eligible through DWP means-tested benefits, will be paid by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shortly after DWP payments start. HMRC will publish specific details of when payments will be made to these people. More information is available on the government website.
There will also be further payments worth £150 for eligible people with disabilities and £300 for pensioners due later this year, meaning some people will receive up to £1,350 in direct payments.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Not only are we providing £900 in direct cash payments to millions of the most vulnerable households, we’ve also extended the energy price guarantee to hold bills down until energy prices fall, raised the national living wage to £10.42, put an end to the prepayment meter premium and delivered a plan that will more than halve inflation this year – ensuring everyone’s incomes go further.”