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Cost of living FAQs

​The government is providing £37 billion this year to help tackle the rising cost of living.

Here are answers to some questions you may have about how much you're entitled to and how we can help.

  1. Do I need to apply for the Cost of Living Payments?
  2. Will these payments affect my other benefits?
  3. How will I know if I am eligible?
  4. When will the Cost of Living Payments be paid?
  5. Why are the two amounts, of £326 and £324, slightly different?
  6. What if I get Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit?
  7. I get additional benefits. Will this affect how much I get?
  8. Why are tax credits customers getting paid later?
  9. What is the Energy Bills Support Scheme?
  10. What is the Council Tax energy rebate?
  11. What is the Household Support Fund?

1. Do I need to apply for the Cost of Living Payments?

You do not need to apply for the Cost of Living Payments. If you are eligible, you will be paid automatically in the same way that you usually receive your benefit or tax credits.

2. Will these payments affect my other benefits?

These payments are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you already receive. 

3. How will I know if I am eligible?

To get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of either:

  • Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022, or;
  • income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

If you are a tax credit customer, to get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have received a payment, or an annual award of at least £26, of tax credits for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

You will be eligible for the second Cost of Living Payment of £324 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022.

4. When will the Cost of Living Payment be paid?

Low income, means tested benefits

  • The first payment of £326 was paid from 14 July 2022
  • The second payment of £324 will be paid between 8 and 23 November 2022 for most people

You will receive this payment if you are on the following eligible benefits, in payment on each qualifying date:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

Tax credits only 

  • The first payment of £326 was paid between 2 and 7 September 2022 for most people
  • The second payment of £324 will be paid between 23 and 30 November 2022 for most people

You will receive this payment if your household is receiving tax credits on each qualifying date.

One-off disability payment 

  • A one-off disability payment of £150 will be made in September 2022, if you are eligible
  • This will be paid in addition to the above

Winter Fuel Payment

  • A one-off £300 fuel payment

This one-off increase will go to more than 8 million pensioner households across the UK who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and will be paid on top of any other one-off support an eligible pensioner household is entitled to.

5. Why are the two amounts, of £326 and £324, slightly different?

The two payments are slightly different as this will allow people to know they have received both payments. This will avoid the risk of fraud and duplicate payments.

6. What if I get Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit?

If you get both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, you will receive one set of Cost of Living Payments, linked to Child Tax Credit only.

7. I get additional benefits. Will this affect how much I get?

If you receive tax credits from HMRC or a qualifying low income benefit from DWP, you will receive a Cost of Living Payment from DWP or HMRC. If you also get a qualifying disability benefit, you may receive an additional Disability Cost of Living Payment from DWP.

8. Why are tax credits customers getting paid later?

It's possible for customers to be entitled to both tax credits and other eligible benefits which are administered by DWP. So, HMRC will make payments to eligible customers receiving tax credits only, shortly after DWP, to avoid duplicate payments.

9. What is the Energy Bills Support Scheme?

In addition to the above payments, there is also the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which will see all domestic energy customers receive a one-off rebate of £400 paid by their energy providers. This money will not need to be paid back.

10. What is the Council Tax energy rebate?

Households liable for Council Tax in Bands A-D in England have received a £150 Council Tax rebate to help with the rising cost of bills. Read more information.

11. What is the Household Support Fund?

The government has extended the Household Support Fund until March 2023, providing an extra £421 million of local support in England and £79 million to the devolved administrations. Read more information.