Financial support this winter. The government has pledged to help households with their cost of living and energy bills, as the latter are expected to soar to £3,420 in October with a predicted rise to £3,850 in January. Uutilities consultant BFY have released the figures revealing a 74 per cent increase to the energy price cap, which already went up by 54 per cent to £1,971 in April 2020.
The price cap was previously set at £1,227, with a jump to £3,420 meaning and some families are choosing heating over eating or vice versa. Ofgem has also said that the price cap will change every three months rather than six.
With that in mind, the ggovernment has introduced a series of support schemes that help struggling households.
£650 cost of living payment
This is paid in two installments to all households on means-tested benefits, including those receiving:
- Universal credit
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Child tax credit
- Pension credit
The first installment of £326 should have appeared in your bank account in July, with the second half of £324 coming this autumn.
People receiving child tax credit and working tax credit will have to wait until autumn for the first installment, and winter for the second: this is to avoid any duplicate payments. The grant is tax-free and does not affect the benefit cap or benefit awards, and there is no need to apply for the grant: payments appear in their bank accounts automatically, with the code “DWP COL” or similar.
£400 energy grant
This winter financial support is being provided to every household in the country, without means testing. It begins in October and is paid out to consumers in installments over six months via energy suppliers: and it does not have to be paid back.
If customers have a domestic electricity meter point and pay via payment cards, standard credit, or direct debit, they will get an automatic deduction on bills, while those who use prepayment meters and top up their credit before using energy will get discount vouchers sent by text message, email or post in the first week of the month.
Tenants who have their energy bills included in their rent will have their money paid to their landlord, who should then pass the rebate on to you. People who live in caravans may not receive the payment if they pay an energy fee to the owner of the park instead of directly. For people living in boats, electricity use is usually tied up with the docking fee, so no rebate will occur.
£300 winter fuel payment
Most pensioners get a winter fuel payment every year but in 2020 the government is adding an extra £300 boost to over eight million pensioner households – for those born on or before September 25, 1956, and living in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19-25, 2022.
You don’t necessarily have to apply for the winter fuel payment as you should receive the money automatically, but if you have not had the payment before, you should claim if any of the following apply:
- You are not on benefits or a state pension
- You only get housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit
- You get benefits or a state pension but reside in Switzerland or an EEA country.
Claims will be accepted until March 31, 2023 HEREand should be with pensioners by autumn 2022, who will be given an estimated payment date: 13 January 2023 at the very latest.
£150 disability payment
People on disability benefits could get a £150 cost of living payment if they receive:
- Attendance allowance
- Constant attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance for adults
- Disability living allowance for children
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
- Adult disability payment (in Scotland)
- Child disability payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces independence payment
- War pension mobility supplement
You must have had at least one of these qualifying benefits for May 25, 2022.
Eligible people will be paid from September and it should be paid to you automatically: again, it’s tax free and doesn’t count towards the benefits cap or affect any existing benefits you currently claim.
Turn2Us and Sense have also announced a fund to help disabled people here.
Household Support Fund increase
This provides households with payments to help with things like food, utilities and clothing and is distributed through local councils, so amounts vary but tend to be around £200 and for those 16 or over 18. It’s also worth noting that councils may reject your application if you have savings.
A third of the money has to go to households with children, a third “will be dedicated to pensioners” and a third to everyone else. If you get rejected for an application you will be given seven days to appeal, and you apply directly through your local council.
You will need your national insurance number to apply, as well as details of your household (earnings and expenses.) You’ll have to provide evidence showing why you need the support.
A final note on this: if you already receive an energy payment under the previous support fund roll-out, you do not have to apply, and the payments should have started being made in July.