Struggling households are receiving payments into their bank accounts to help them with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
More than eight million families on means-tested benefits will automatically receive £301 with a further 6.5 million on disability payments due to receive £150 in the summer.
Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride said: “These direct payments will help people right across the UK over this year and the start of the next, as we continue to provide consistent, targeted and substantial support for the most vulnerable.
“Our wider support package, including the Energy Price Guarantee, will ensure every household is being helped through this challenging period of high inflation, caused by Putin’s illegal war and the aftershocks of the pandemic.”
The £301 payment is the first of five direct cost of living payments for the most vulnerable households, including pensioners and disabled people, with the total amount of support reaching up to £1,350.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt said: “High inflation, exacerbated by Putin’s illegal war, is hurting economies across the world and making people poorer.
“These payments are the next part of the significant support we are providing through this challenging time, with millions of vulnerable households receiving £900 directly into their bank accounts this financial year alongside additional help for pensioners and those with disabilities.
“This latest payment will provide some temporary relief, but the best thing we can do to help families and businesses is to stick to the plan to halve inflation this year.”
Exact payment windows and qualifying periods for eligibility will be announced in due course, but are designed to ensure a consistent support offer throughout the year. Payment windows will be broadly as follows:
- £301 – First 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Spring 2023
- £150 – 2023 Disability Payment – during Summer 2023
- £300 – Second 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Autumn 2023
- £300 – 2023 Pensioner Payment – during Winter 2023/4
- £299 – Third 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Spring 2024
There are several benefits that could make claimants eligible for the £301 Cost of Living Payment, including Universal Credit and tax credits – through which 5.4 million households across the UK are expected to qualify, and Pension Credit, through which 1.4 million pensioner households are expected to be paid. A further 1.3 million will be eligible through legacy DWP benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support, reaching a total of 8.1 million households.
What happens next?
Eligible individuals do not need to apply for payments, as they are made automatically. Those eligible for cost-of-living payments through tax credits, and no other means-tested benefits, will be paid by HMRC shortly after DWP payments are made.
This builds on the Government’s wider support package, which includes further funding for the Household Support Fund, bringing its total value for October 2021 to March 2024 to over £2 billion.
The fund is distributed to English councils, who know their areas best and are then able to offer direct support for those most in need in their local area. Every household with a domestic electricity supply is also benefitting from the Energy Price Guarantee, which is saving the average household around £900 this winter and a further £500 in 2023/24 by capping energy costs.