From a council tax rebate to a £400 energy grant, the Government has introduced a range of support measures to combat the UK’s cost of living crisis this year.

Some of the measures, such as a £300 increase to the winter fuel allowance and a £150 disability payment, are designed to target the country’s most vulnerable households.

For many, the most siginficant of these is the £650 cost of living payment for people on means-tested benefits and tax credits, which is split into two instalments.

The first payment, which all eligible groups should now have received, was £326, and the second instalment will be £324 – here’s what we know about when claimants will receive it.

When will the £324 cost of living payment be paid?

For people who qualify through means tested benefits, the first instalment of the £650 began automatically landing in bank accounts from Thursday 14 July onwards.

The Government announced that the second and final payment would be issued to these claimants in autumn – so any time from September – however, a precise date has not yet been confirmed.

The majority of the first payments appeared to have arrived relatively promptly, especially when compared with the council tax rebate, which was beset by delays.

File photo dated 26/01/18 of a UK five pound, ten pound, twenty pound and fifty pound notes with one pound coins. Around six million people will receive a one-off ?150 disability cost-of-living payment from Tuesday. Those being paid a qualifying disability benefit will be paid automatically from September 20. Issue date: Tuesday September 20, 2022. PA Photo. The vast majority of those eligible are expected to receive their one-off payment by the start of October, the UK Government has said. See PA story MONEY Disability. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Eligible claimants for the cost of living payment should now have received their first instalment (Photo: PA)

Claimants who were eligible solely through receiving child tax credit and working tax credit have had to wait a little longer, with the first instalment rolled out between Friday 2 and Wednesday 7 September.

The second payment for these claimants will then arrive in winter, with further details again still to be confirmed.

The DWP explained: “Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.”

If you are eligible for the payment, there is no need for you to apply – the £650 will be submitted to you automatically, and should show in your bank account with the code “DWP C O L” or similar.

The grant is tax-free for all eligible groups, does not affect the benefit cap and will not affect existing benefit awards.

According to the Government, the two payments are slightly different to prevent the risk of fraud: “The payments are designed to be deliberately slightly unequal to minimise fraud risks from those who may seek to exploit this system.”

More on Cost of living

Who will gets the £650 cost of living payment?

According to the Government’s guidance, the payment is being offered to all households on means-tested benefits, including those receiving the following:

  • Universal credit
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Pension credit

It advised that claimants need to have been in receipt of one of these benefits, or have began a successful claim, as of Wednesday 25 May.

When the first instalment of the payment began its roll-out, the Government released a breakdown of how many people in each region of the UK would receive it:

  • London: 1,224,000, 15% of claimants
  • South West: 580,000, 7% of claimants
  • South East: 846,000, 10% of claimants
  • Eastern: 627,000, 8% of claimants
  • West Midlands: 792,000, 10% of claimants
  • East Midlands: 551,000, 7% of claimants
  • North West: 1,048,000, 13% of claimants
  • North East: 397,000, 5% of claimants
  • Yorkshire and The Humber: 722,000, 9% of claimants
  • Wales: 426,000, 5% of claimants
  • Scotland: 689,000, 8% of claimants
  • Northern Ireland: 309,000, 4% of claimants

Means-tested benefits are awarded based on your income and how much capital you have – if someone can demonstrate that their income and capital are below a certain level, they qualify.

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