The £900 cost of living government support package is being paid in three separate instalments, with the final £300 payment paid automatically to those entitled to the benefit in February. The first instalment was paid from 25 April 2023, and the second from the end of October.
The support was originally announced in the 2022 Autumn Statement and is aimed at helping people struggling with the cost of living crisis as essential costs such as food and energy continue to soar. According to government figures, around eight million who receive means-tested benefits will be entitled to the grant.
The £900 payments follow a £650 grant for people in receipt of means-tested benefits that was paid in two instalments in 2022.
Who qualifies for the £900 cost of living payments?
You should be entitled to the £900 cost of living payments if you receive one or more of the following benefits: Universal Credit; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; income support; Pension Credit; Working Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit.
Similarly to the previous £650 cost-of-living payments in 2022, the payments are a tax-free grant, and will not affect your existing benefits.
Mel Strike, the Work and Pensions secretary, said: “The best way we can boost bank balances is by bearing down on inflation, but as we get there, we are ensuring the most vulnerable households are cushioned from high prices with a further cost-of-living payment.”
When should the £900 cost of living payments have been received?
The cost of living payments are spread out to ensure that financial support is received throughout the year for the households who need it most.
The first payment should have been received by 17 May 2023 for people on DWP benefits, or between 2 and 9 May 2023 for people on tax credits, meaning all those eligible should now have received the first payment. The second payment, of £300, should have been paid by 19 November, and £299 will be the third payment made in February 2024.
A spokesman for the DWP said: “While payments are made automatically, people must be receiving one of the eligible qualifying benefits during the specified period to qualify. Those who wish to check their entitlement to benefits should use a benefits calculator on Gov.uk to get a better idea of what they could receive.
“Low-income pensioners particularly should check their eligibility for Pension Credit,” You may still be able to receive the last cost of living payment (paid in February for most people) if you apply for Pension Credit now.
Find out more about Pension Credit in our guides Pension Credit: are you missing out on £3,500 a year? And Pension Credit explained.
What other cost of living support is available?
The government paid a separate £150 disability cost of living payment in summer 2023. This was paid to anyone in receipt of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance; Personal Independence Payment (PIP); Attendance Allowance: Scottish Disability Benefits; Armed Forces Independence Payment; Constant Attendance Allowance; War Pension Mobility Supplement.
If you’re entitled to Winter Fuel Payment, you’ll get an extra £300 Pensioner Cost of Living payment in the winter of 2023/24. This is on top of between £100 and £300 towards energy bills from the Winter Fuel Payment. The amount you receive depends on when you were born, your living situation and benefits entitlement. You should receive this extra payment automatically if you’re entitled to it. Find out more in our article Pensioners to receive up to £600 towards energy bills and Winter Fuel Payment: who gets it and when is it paid?
Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: “The various cost-of-living support schemes and measures past and present have and will help to ease the inflationary crunch on budgets – but most have a shelf life.
“It remains important to have a comprehensive understanding of your financial position and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your financial position holds strong long after the cost-of-living measures expire.”
Find out more about financial support you might be entitled to in our article 26 sources of support if you receive benefits or are on a low income.