With the cost of living increasing and inflation rates predicted to continue to rise, it is no surprise that the UK is feeling anxious about what the rest of 2022 will bring. There have been a few headlines recently regarding the support package the Government has put in place to support households. The support available differs depending on individual circumstances and the information below is a summary of what is available, who is entitled, and how the money is expected to be paid..
Non-repayable £400 energy grant
From October all households in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a grant of £400 to help towards the increasing costs of energy bills. This will be paid not as a lump sum but over the course of 6 months at £66 (October & November, increasing to £67 December – March) . For those with energy accounts being paid by direct debit or credit will have the money automatically credited into their accounts from October. For those on traditional pre-paid meters you will be provided with Energy Bill discount vouchers from the first week of the month, customers will need to redeem these at their usual top-up point. Newer pre-paid meters should have the discounted rates applied automatically.
Households in Northern Ireland will receive the £400 discount on bills through the Northern Ireland Energy Bills Support Scheme. Customers do not need to take any action to receive support.
Non-repayable £400 energy grant
All households in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a grant of £400 to help towards the increasing costs of energy bills. This will be paid not as a lump sum but over the course of 6 months. For those with energy accounts being paid by direct debit or credit will have the money automatically credited into their accounts from October. For those on pre-paid meters the money will be applied to your meter or paid in vouchers. This grant is replacing the proposed £200 loan that was announced in February this year. Something similar is reportedly being offered to those in Northern Ireland.
£650 Cost of Living payment
This grant, split into two payments of £326 & £324 will be paid to those in the UK receiving one of the following means-tested benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit.
The first half of this grant was issued in July with the second half due in November. If you claimed one of these benefits between the first and second payment (up to the 25th September) you will be entitled to the second instalment of this grant only. The money will go directly into the bank account your benefits are paid into. It will not have any impact on existing benefits.
£300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
The £300 payment will be paid from November 2022 for those of State Pension age that get the usual Winter Fuel Payment (between £250 and £600 depending on your circumstances – for further information please check the Gov.uk website). You will qualify for this payment if you are over state pension age between 19th and 25th September 2022 and you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 20 to 26 September 2021 (for the full list of requirements visit the Gov.uk website). This payment will be made by direct debt for most households and is not taxable and does not affect other benefit eligibility.
£150 one-off payment
People in the UK will be eligible for this if they are in receipt of any of the following disability benefits (or have made a claim before 25th May 2022):
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Scottish Disability Benefits
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.
The £150 payment will be made automatically from 20th September and will be paid straight into the account the disability benefit is paid into. Most people should receive their payment by the beginning of October 2022. It is designed to help towards the cost of specialist equipment, food and increased transport costs. Those that have swapped disability benefits under the Motability Scheme will still be able to apply for this one off payment.
Warm House Discount
This scheme will open in November 2022 and applicants could get £150 off their energy bills. The grant will not be paid directly to you, but instead will be discounted from your energy bill (occasionally your gas bill). Pensioners on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit will qualify for this if their energy supplier is taking part in the scheme, and the discount may automatically be applied. For those on other means tested benefits you may be eligible to apply, if your energy supplier is taking part in the scheme, but you may need to contact your supplier by 28th February 2023. Most people will receive a letter before hand if they are eligible to apply with further information. Alternatively you can look on https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/energy-suppliers for further information, including which energy suppliers are a part of this scheme.
Household Support Fund
The government announced earlier in the year that an additional £421 million will be divided amongst local authorities specifically for the Household Support Fund and applications are open until March 2023. What you might be awarded from this fund, as well as eligibility criteria will vary from council to council but could help with things such as: clothing, food, toward utility bills. Check here with your postcode to find out further information on the Household Support Fund in your area: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
You may be entitled to one, multiple or all of the above depending on your circumstances, and if you would like any further advice please call the welfare team on 0800 917 8616. The welfare team may also be able to signpost you onto local welfare services available in your area if you are struggling financially as a result of the cost of living crisis.
How NewstrAid has helped households during the cost of living crisis:
NewstrAid has been working throughout the year to support households struggling with the ever increasing costs the UK is facing:
February 2022 – Additional Winter Booster Payment of £150 paid to households in receipt of regular benefit
August 2022- increased regular benefit payments by 10% to over 400 households
October 2022 – Trustees approved an additional subsidy of £100 to our Winter Comfort Grant – a total of £250 was paid to 379 households in receipt of regular assistance to help provide comfort this winter.