Who is and isn't eligible for cost of living payments?

The first of a series of cost of living payments are landing in people's bank accounts, but only certain people are entitled to the support

·5-min read
File photo dated 18/09/12 of a general view of some UK pound coins and banknotes. Almost half as many people in Scotland lived in very deep poverty late last decade compared to a quarter of a century ago, new research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has shown. The charity found 460,000 people in Scotland were living in very deep poverty between 2017-2020, up from 310,000 between 1994-97 - a rise of more than 48%. Issue date: Tuesday April 18, 2023.
Yahoo News takes a look at who is entitled to a series of cost of living payments. (PA)

Pensioners on low incomes have been urged to check if they are eligible for pension credit that is worth more than £3,500 a year.

There are only 10 days to go until the deadline to claim pension credit and still qualify for the government's latest £301 cost of living payment.

Those pensioners who successfully claim by 19 May may still receive the £301 payment.

People who think they may be eligible can check by using the government's online pension credit calculator.

Pension credit is designed to help people over state pension age and on a low income with daily living costs, though someone does not need to be in receipt of the state pension to receive it.

It 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.

Read more: How to claim pension credit and get £301 cost of living payment

Serious caucasian old elderly senior couple grandparents family counting funds on calculator, doing paperwork, savings, paying domestic bills, mortgage loan, pension at home using laptop.
Pensioners are being urged to check if they are eligible for pension credit. (Getty Images)

About 1.4 million pensioners across Britain receive pension credit, but many who could be eligible are not claiming this extra financial help.

The government has a dedicated How To Claim page to show people how to claim pension credit. It can be done online, by phone or by post.

Yahoo News UK explains below who is eligible for the government's cost of living payments:

What are the cost of living payments?

Between 25 April and 17 May, more than eight million households are receiving a £301 cost of living payment from the government.

It is the first of three payments, totalling up to £900, for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as universal credit or pension credit, in 2023/24.

The Department for Work and Pensions will send payments automatically and directly to recipients’ bank accounts, with a reference of their national insurance number followed by “DWP COL”.

A second payment of £300 will be made in the autumn, with a third instalment of £299 scheduled for spring next year.

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.

Who is eligible for the payments?

A shopping trolley is seen at a supermarket in Manchester, Britain, March 22, 2023. The United Kingdom's UK consumer price index CPI rose to 10.4 percent in the 12 months to February 2023 from 10.1 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics ONS said on Wednesday. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Millions of people are set to receive the latest cost of living payment. (Getty Images)

You may be entitled to up to three cost-of-living payments if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain dates:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Income Support

  • Pension Credit

  • Universal Credit

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Working Tax Credit

The credits will be made separately from regular benefit payments, and those who are eligible don't have to apply as the payments will be made automatically.

Some more details

Universal Credit - You will be eligible for the first cost of living payment if you were entitled to a Universal Credit payment (or later found to be entitled) for an assessment period ending 26 January to 25 February this year.

Income-based JSA, Income-based ESA, Income Support and Pension Credit - If you were entitled to one of these payments for any day between 26 January and 25 February, you will also be eligible for the first £301 payment.

If you were entitled to one of these benefits during the period but did not receive a payment because your entitlement is between 1 and 9 pence, you'll still be eligible for the support payment.

Tax credits - If you received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period of 26 January to 25 February or are later found to have been entitled for this period, you are eligible for the first cost of living payment.

Who is not eligible?

Anyone whose benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period (sometimes known as a "nil award") won't be eligible for the support payment.

This can happen if you got more than one payment of earnings in a Universal Credit assessment period, if your partner's earnings or savings increased, if you started receiving another benefit, or if you got a "sanction" for not following the rules.

Read more: Experts demand universal credit overhaul during cost of living crisis

If your benefit is reduced to £0 you could still be eligible if money was taken off for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe.

You could still be entitled if you had a hardship payment after a sanction left you unable to pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.

'Easing the strain of high prices'

London, UK. 15th Mar, 2023. Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing Street with the red budget box to present his spring budget to parliament in London. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt Presents His First Spring Budget. (Credit Image: © Fred Duval/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has blamed current pressures on the aftershocks of COVID and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. (PA)

The payments follow credits of up to £1,200 to support over eight million low-income households in 2022 as the country faced an unprecedented surge in inflation.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: "I know these are tough times for families across the UK who are struggling to meet rising food and energy costs, driven by the aftershocks of COVID and Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Read more: Millions warned to 'beware scammers' as new payment scheme rolls out

"That’s why we’re putting a further £900 into the pockets of over eight million low income households next year.

"These payments are on top of above inflation increases to working-age benefits and the Energy Price Guarantee, which is insulating millions from even higher global gas prices.

"Tackling inflation is this government's number one priority and is the only way to ease the strain of high prices, drive long-term economic growth and improve living standards for everyone."