In a week when we have no trains and precious little available NHS, we can console ourselves that it is not as cold as it was before Christmas.
And for many people, stuck at home and dreading having to find a way to the surgery, pharmacy or A&E, there is some good news – at least financially. Some help is on its way from the DWP who sent me yesterday details of the payments those most in need can expect from the spring with the headline
Millions of low-income households to get new Cost of Living Payments from Spring 2023
I have toned down the more euphoric language of the DWP’s press relief. Just how many millions will be getting this benefit depends on how effective the Government’s drive to get take up is.
On 19th November the Guardian revealed that government data showed 42% of vouchers for customers with older prepayment meters had yet to be redeemed.
Charlotte White, manager of Earlsfield food bank in south-west London, said it had had to help numerous people – many of whom did not have internet access and were sitting at home in the dark wearing coats – to get their payments.
“It’s quite confusing, so a lot of people are going to be turned off and it’s really frustrating when the onus is on people themselves,” she said.
“It’s not just what support is available but it’s how easily and readily people can access that support that’s really important.”
The DWP’s offer is only as good as take up which is why I suppose I’m being asked to spread the news. There are of course many better sources of information than this blog but if you are reading this and you know people who need this money, over to you. Here’s what the DWP are saying….
- Millions will receive new cost of living support from Spring 2023, following up to £1,200 in support for over eight million low-income households in 2022
- £900 Cost of Living Payment for means-tested benefit claimants will go direct to bank accounts in three payments over the financial year
- Extra cash support for disabled people and pensioners will see some households receive extra cash
Millions of the lowest-income households across the UK will get up to £1,350 from the Government in 2023/4 to help with the cost of living.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today announced more detail on the payment schedule for the next round of cost of living support unveiled in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, building on payments made to over eight million people in 2022.
The new £900 cash boost for over eight million eligible means-tested benefits claimants, including those on Universal Credit, Pension Credit and tax credits, starts in Spring and will go direct to bank accounts in three payments over the course of the financial year. There will also be a separate £150 for over six million disabled people and £300 for over eight million pensioners on top of their Winter Fuel Payments.
Exact payment windows will be announced closer to the time, but are spread across a longer period to ensure a consistent support offering throughout the year.
The Payment Schedule
£301 – First Cost of Living Payment – Spring 2023
£150 – Disability Payment – Summer 2023
£300 – Second Cost of Living Payment – Autumn 2023
£300 – Pensioner Payment – Winter 2023/4
£299 – Third Cost of Living Payment – Spring 2024
Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride said:
“We are sticking by our promise to protect the most vulnerable and these payments, worth hundreds of pounds, will provide vital support next year for those on the lowest incomes.
“The government’s wider support package has already helped more than eight million families as we continue to deal with the global consequences of Putin’s illegal war and the aftershocks of the pandemic.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt added:
“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.
“That’s why we’re putting a further £900 into the pockets of over 8 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.”
More information from the DWP
If individuals are eligible they will be paid automatically, and there will be no need to apply. Claimants who are eligible for any of the Cost of Living Payments and receive tax credits, and no other means-tested benefits, will receive payment from HMRC shortly after DWP payments are issued.
These payments build on the Government’s extensive support package to help households tackle the globally rising cost of living stemming from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee continues to cap energy costs, saving the average household around £900 this winter and a further £500 in 2023/24. Benefits, including working age benefits and the State Pension, will also rise in line with inflation from April 2023, ensuring they increase by over 10%. April will also see the biggest ever cash rise to the National Living Wage, bringing it to £10.42 an hour, and a further year-long extension of the Household Support Fund in England and associated devolved nation funding worth £1 billion in total.
This comes on top of the 2022 support package, which included:
- A £650 Cost of Living payment for means-tested benefit claimants, split into two payments, each of which supported over eight million households
- Further £300 and £150 payments, which reached over eight million pensioners and over six million disabled people respectively
- A £150 Council Tax rebate for all households in Council Tax bands A-D
- A £400 energy bill discount for all households, which will continue to run through March
Sources of information
Age UK provides a good synopsis of the sources of income currently available to older people
You can also read more about the government’s existing cost of living support on the Help for Households website.