Millions of people on low incomes will start receiving payments of £324 into their bank accounts from Tuesday to help with the rising cost of living.
The payments are the second instalment of a £650 sum being paid out to people receiving benefits such as Universal Credit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), income support, pension credit, child tax credit and working tax credit.
Those who are eligible do not need to apply or do anything to receive the payment as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will start issuing the money directly from today (8 November).
People are being urged to be wary of scam texts or emails inviting them to make applications for the payment. The DWP will never ask for personal details by text message or email.
Payments of £326 have previously been made by the DWP and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and this second second cost of living payment should arrive by 23 November for DWP claimants.
Eligible households receiving tax credits, and no other means-tested benefits, will get their second payment from 23 November and should receive it by 30 November.
The DWP said that in a small minority of complex circumstances, it may pay some households after 23 November. It may be delayed, for example, if they were deemed unable to claim certain benefits, but won backdated entitlement on appeal, or where payments were rejected due to invalid account details.
The payment reference on recipients’ bank accounts will be their national insurance number, followed by "DWP COL". For HMRC recipients, the payment reference will be "HMRC COLS".
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We understand that people are struggling and that is why we’ve consistently acted to ensure millions of low-income families are supported. We will continue to act with compassion as we navigate challenging global economic circumstances.
“As part of a wider £37 billion package of support, this latest £324 payment will help the most vulnerable people in our society who are worrying about their finances through the winter months.”
Listed is the estimated numbers of families eligible for the means-tested benefit cost of living payments by region, according to the DWP:
- London, 1,224,000
- South West, 580,000
- South East, 846,000
- Eastern England, 627,000
- West Midlands, 792,000
- East Midlands, 551,000
- North West, 1,048,000
- North East, 397,000
- Yorkshire and the Humber, 722,000
- Wales, 426,000
- Scotland, 689,000
- Northern Ireland, 309,000
Further cost of living support
The government’s support package also includes a £400 discount on energy bills that is being paid in monthly instalments to domestic energy customers between now and March.
A £300 addition to Winter Fuel Payments will go to more than eight million pensioner households over the winter.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “We’ve taken decisive action to hold down energy bills this winter, and provided hundreds of pounds of cash support for each vulnerable household.
“As part of that support, over eight million vulnerable households – almost a quarter of families in the UK – will automatically receive a second cost-of-living payment worth £324 in their bank account from today.
“And while we can’t completely protect people from rising prices, my priority at the upcoming autumn statement will be to protect the poorest in society as we take the tough decisions necessary to fix our public finances.”
Those eligible will generally have been claiming and entitled to a payment between 26 August and 25 September, with the exception of pensioner households, who may be able to have a new pension credit claim backdated. They have until 18 December to submit a valid claim for pension credit, which could entitle them to the £324 cost of living payment.
People can check their eligibility for pension credit using an online calculator or by calling a freephone claim line (0800 99 1234).
The energy price guarantee, which limits the unit cost of energy, runs from the start of October 2022 until the end of March 2023. A review will be launched to consider more targeted measures to support households with their energy bills after this period.