Stop the Squeeze, a coalition of 50 civil society organisations, trade unions and grassroots groups, is calling for the social security system to be redesigned to ensure it delivers a Living Income for all – meaning that people are guaranteed that they will be able to afford the essentials.
Megan Davies of the Stop the Squeeze campaign said: “The upcoming Spring Budget could be the Chancellor’s last opportunity to take bold action on the cost of living crisis.
“While the government is fixated on tax cuts that won’t make any meaningful difference to most people, the reality is that families up and down the country are facing a financial cliff edge. We need a real plan for an affordable Britain, ensuring that everyone has access to an income that allows them not only to survive but to live well.”
But for now, the cost of living payment could well be a lifeline for families who are still struggling in the cost of living payment.
Here’s everything you need to know – including when you will get the cost of living payment in 2024, who is eligible, how much you will receive, and what to do if your payment is missing. We also explain where else you can go to get support now that the cost of living payment is coming to an end.
What date will I get the next cost of living payment?
Most people on DWP benefits will receive the next cost of living payment between Tuesday, February 6 and Thursday, February 22. This is the third and final payment for the 2023/2024 period and there are no further payments planned.
The previous payment of £300 was paid between 31 October and 19 November 2023.
There is a chance payments could be paid late – such as if you are made eligible for a qualifying benefit at a later date or you change the bank account your benefit or tax credits are paid into.
Who gets the cost of living payment?
People receiving certain benefits or tax credits are eligible for the cost of living payment. This includes: 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.
You also have to have been receiving one of these benefits between November 13 and December 12, or payment for an assessment period, ending between these dates.
If you get both child tax credit and working tax credit you’ll only receive a cost of living payment for child tax credit. If you get tax credits from HMRC and a benefit from the DWP, you’ll only receive the payment from the DWP.
Couples with a joint claim will only receive single payments between them. You will not get a payment if you are only getting the new style employment and support allowance, contributory employment and support allowance, or new style jobseeker’s allowance.
If your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period, you will also not be eligible. This is sometimes called ‘nil award’ and refers to when you stop getting benefits for a variety of reasons. This could be because your earnings go up (or your partner’s earnings go up), you start getting another benefit or your savings go up.
If you are getting tax credits from HMRC and a low-income benefit from DWP, you will only get the one cost of living payment. It is likely to be paid by the DWP. In this case, payment will show as ‘HMRC COLS’ in bank and building society accounts, so that people know the money is cost of living support.
How will the cost of living payment be paid?
The cost of living payments will be paid into bank accounts automatically, in the same way as you get your benefits or tax credits. They will be paid separately to your benefits. You don’t need to apply or do anything.
This payment is tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
Will I get a winter fuel payment?
People should have received the DWP winter fuel payment, an additional benefit to help pensioners with the cost of heating over the winter, in November or December.
You can get the winter fuel payment if you were born before 25 September, 1957 and you live in the UK.
The winter fuel payment is anywhere between £250 and £600 depending on your circumstances. This is known as the pensioner cost of living payment and is in addition to any you get with your benefit or tax credits.
If you have not got a letter or the money has not been paid into your account by 26 January, 2024, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
You can get a winter fuel payment in the upcoming winter if you were born before 25 September, 1957. Find out more about the winter fuel payment.
Will I get the disability cost of living payment on PIP in 2024?
The £150 disability cost of living payment was paid to disabled people who receive certain benefits between 20 June and 4 July, 2023. There are no further payments planned for 2024.
How do I report a missing cost of living payment?
If you think you should have had a payment but you can’t see it in your bank account, you can report it through the government’s website.
Before reporting a missing payment, you should check your bank, building society or credit union account, or your payment exception service voucher receipt.
How do I avoid cost of living payment scams?
The government warns people to “beware of scams targeting cost of living payments”. If someone contacts you about this payment saying they are from HMRC or DWP, it might be a scam.
You do not need to apply for the payment, and official bodies like the DWP and HMRC will never ask for your bank details by SMS or email. You can find advice on spotting scams by visiting the government’s website.
Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, so the National Security Cyber Centre will investigate it, and texts to 7726, which will report the text to your mobile phone provider.
Where else can I get cost of living help?
Benefits aren’t stretching far enough in the cost of living crisis – but there are other options out there for people who need it.
People who are struggling financially may be eligible for charitable grants. You can find out what grants might be available to you using Turn2Us’ grant search on the charity’s website. There are a huge range of grants available for different people – including those who are bereaved, disabled, unemployed, redundant, ill, a carer, veteran, young person or old person. Grants are also usually available to people who have no recourse to public funds and cannot claim welfare benefits.
If you are unable to pay your bills, your local council may have a scheme that can help you. Local councils may be able to give you debt advice, help you get hold of furniture and support you through food and fuel poverty. Your council may also have a local welfare assistance scheme, also known as crisis support. You can also find out what support your council offers through End Furniture Poverty’s local welfare assistance finder or by contacting your local authority directly.
You can find your local food bank through the Trussell Trust’s website or the IFAN’s member’s map. You can also call the Trussell Trust’s free helplines and talk to a trained adviser. It’s 0808 208 2138 if you live in England or Wales, and 0800 915 4604 if you live in Northern Ireland. You should contact your local council if you live in Scotland.
There’s lots more cost of living help available to people who need it – we round it up here.
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