Cost of living support if you are receiving means-tested benefits
Cost of Living Payment
If your household is on a low income and entitled to one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
you may receive a £900 Cost of Living Payment (split into three payments of £301, £300, and £299). To be eligible for the payment, you need to have been entitled to a payment for one of these benefits between 26 January and 25 February 2023, or you need to have been entitled to a payment for an assessment period ending between 26 January and 25 February 2023. To find out the full eligibility for the Cost of Living Payment, go to the gov.uk website.
The Cost of Living Payments will be awarded directly to recipients. You won’t need to apply, and the payment should be sent out automatically.
The payment will be made separately from your benefit payments. These payments are tax-free and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you get.
- The first payment was made in April / May 2023.
- The second payment of £300 will be made between 31 October and 19 November.
- The third payment of £299 should be paid during spring 2024 for most people.
There will be payments worth £150 for eligible disabled people and £300 for pensioners in 2023, meaning the most vulnerable can receive up to £1,350 in direct payments.
Cost of living support if you are receiving the Winter Fuel Payment
Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
If you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment (an automatic tax-free payment for people over pension credit age), you will receive an extra £150 or £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment. The payment will be made with your normal Winter Fuel Payment from November 2023.
The Pensioner Cost of Living Payment is an additional payment on top of the original Winter Fuel Payment amount. The total payment this winter will be between £250 and £600 per person, depending on age and circumstances.
You will not need to apply for the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment or Winter Fuel Payment, it will be made directly into your bank account.
The Pensioner Cost of Living Payment will be paid to all households in receipt of Winter Fuel Payments, in the same way as 2022/23 payments were made.
Cold Weather Payment
You may also be entitled to the Cold Weather Payment if you receive certain benefits and the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0ºC or below over seven consecutive days.
The 2023/24 scheme will start on 1 November 2023. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment in November 2023.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, applied between October and March.
In England and Wales, you might be eligible if you either:
In Scotland, you might be eligible if you either:
- get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
- are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme
In Northern Ireland, the Warm Home Discount Scheme is not available. Instead, they offer the Affordable Warmth scheme.
If you live in a Park (Mobile) home, you may be eligible for the Park Homes Warm Home Discount scheme.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2023 to 2024 opens on 16 October 2023.
Wales Winter Fuel Support Scheme
You may be able to claim a one-off £200 cash payment from your local authority in addition to the winter fuel payment offered by the UK Government. The Wales Winter Fuel Support Scheme will be open to households in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits:
- Income Support
- Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Pension Credit
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carers Allowance
- Contributory Benefits
- Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS)
The scheme has now ended. More information about the 2023 scheme should be available later in the year.
Cost of living support if you are receiving a disability benefit
Disability Cost of Living Payment
You may be entitled to a £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment if you received, or claimed, one of the following qualifying benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Most people were paid the £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment automatically between 20 June and 4 July 2023.
Child Winter Heating Payment
If you live in Scotland, Child Winter Heating Payment is a benefit payment to help disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs. Child Winter Heating Payment used to be called Child Winter Heating Assistance.
Children and young people can get the assistance if they are under 19 years old and get one of the following benefits:
- the highest rate of the care component of Child Disability Payment
- the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
- the enhanced daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
- the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment
They must be getting one these benefits on at least one day in the third full week of September. In 2023 this week is Monday 18 September to Sunday 24 September.
The payment for winter 2023-2024 is £235.70. Payments will begin in November 2023.
If you are not receiving any benefits or need extra help
Contact your local authority
If you’re on a low income and struggling with essential costs, contact your local council to see what help might be available.
- In England, you may be eligible for a payment from the Household Support Fund
- In Wales, you might be able to apply to the Discretionary Assistance Fund
- In Scotland, enquire about a Crisis Grant or Community Care Grant
- In Northern Ireland, Discretionary Support or a Short-term Benefit Advance may be available.
You could also apply to your local council for Council Tax Reduction (also called Council Tax Support). Your bill could be reduced by up to 100% depending on the scheme your local council runs, your circumstances, and your household income.
Contact your utility providers
Gas and electricity bill help
Many of the big gas and electricity energy firms provide grants to help their customers and people who are behind with payments.
- The British Gas Energy Trust is available to all energy users, not just British Gas customers. Grants are available to help you clear domestic gas and electricity debts.
- British Gas, EDF, E.on Next, Octopus Energy, Scottish Power, Shell Energy and Utility Warehouse have schemes to help their own customers with the costs of energy. MoneySavingExpert.com has a list of the energy bill grants available.
Phone and broadband bill help
If you are claiming benefits, you may be able to apply for a cheaper social tariff for your broadband, landline or mobile. A list of telecomms social tariffs available is on the Ofcom website and a comparison of different social tariffs for broadband is on the MoneySavingExpert website.
Water bills help
Social tariffs are available If you are claiming benefits or on a low income you might be eligible for a cheaper social tariff from your water company. You may also be able to apply for debt support schemes, financial hardship funds to help you clear your bill, or the WaterSure bill cap scheme. Speak to your water company or find out more about help with water costs on the Customer Council for Water (CCW) website.
Help with essential costs
The Kidney Care UK cost of living hub has more advice about how to cope with the rising costs of living, including information about lowering your utility bills, social and community shopping, home dialysis reimbursement, and a free benefits calculator.
- Bills and rent
- Health costs
- Travel costs
- Education costs for children.