Cost of living support: full breakdown of payments you could get to help with rising energy bills this winter
With energy bills set to spike and public outrage mounting, a Government drive to tackle the cost of living crisis and distribute financial help to struggling households is underway.
As part of a package of £15 billion package of measures, the DWP has already paid over seven million households half a £650 crisis payment, with the second instalment arriving in bank accounts over the next couple of days.
Further payments are scheduled to filter through to different households from September to March next year, depending on eligibility, so it’s handy to know what support might be coming your way.
Here’s a full breakdown of the various payments and schemes in action as winter approaches.
Cost of Living payment
The Cost of Living payment is offered to people living in low-income households in receipt of certain benefits or means-tested support such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Income Support, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.
To receive it, you must have been claiming any of those benefits between April 26 and May 25 of this year, or began a successful claim during that time.
How much will I get: £650, paid in two instalments, if you’re eligible
When will I get it: The first instalment of £326 was paid in the second half of July, while second payments of £324 are starting to filter through this week. Don’t panic if you haven’t received yours yet, it should be with you over the next week or so.
Energy bills support scheme
Every UK household is set to get £400 from the government towards their electricity bill between October 2022 and March 2023.
It will be paid in six instalments - two payments of £66 in October and November, four payments of £67 in December, January, February and March.
Depending on your provider, the money will either be paid into your bank account or reduce your direct debit each month.
How much will I get: £400, in six instalments from October
When will I get it: Payments dropping in October, November, December, January, February and March. If the money doesn’t arrive, contact your energy provider.
Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund allows elderly and vulnerable people to claim free financial support for essential items such as clothing, food and utility bills.
The £500 million government grant will be given to Councils across England who will then distribute according to their own criteria.
For example, some local authorities have used it to supply elderly and vulnerable households with £125 supermarket vouchers.
The devolved administrations will receive up to £79 million of this - £41 million for the Scottish government, £25 million for the Welsh government and £14 million for the Northern Ireland executive.
If you think you may be eligible to receive help from the Household Support Fund, you must apply to your local authority today (September 30) to meet the deadline.
How much will I get: It depends on how your local Council chooses to distribute the money, but you could get a supermarket or ‘winter support’ voucher
When will I get it: Payments and vouchers are beginning to filter through from today (September 30).
Pensioner cost of living payment
This additional boost of £300 will be paid as a ‘top up’ to people who qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) 2022/23.
It is only paid per household, so a couple for example would only be eligible for one payment.
To qualify for the WFP and £300 top up, you must have been born on or before September 25 1956 and lived in the UK for at least one day during September 19 - 25 2022.
How much will I get: £300
When will I get it: This payment is set to arrive in either November or December
Disability cost of living payment
People receiving disability benefits such as the Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance will receive a one-off payment of £150 to help with living costs.
You must have received a payment, or later receive payment, of one of the qualifying benefits for May 25, 2022 to be eligible.
How much will I get: £150
When will I get it: Most recipients will receive this payment by the start of October after the cash was paid on September 20.
Energy price guarantee
The average household bill is set to rise from £1,971 to a frozen cap of £2,500 under the energy price guarantee, which was announced by new Prime Minister Liz Truss earlier this month.
That’s an increase of 27% from the previous cap, which limited the rate energy companies can charge customers on a standard variable tariff.
Some have branded the scheme misleading, as the cap is per unit of energy, not per bill.
Although the energy price guarantee will limit the price providers can charge their customers for units of energy, how much a consumer saves will still depend on usage.
How much will I get: Based on current prices from October, the government has said that on average usage households will save around £1,000.