Cost Of Living Support

NI Direct

A cost of living support package has been put in place for 2022 that includes one-off payments to those on income related benefits, disabled claimants and pensioners. These payments are intended to provide support to you with the current rise in the cost of living.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for one, or more, of these Cost of Living Support Payments if you get certain benefits or tax credits.

You do not need to do anything to apply. If you are eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you receive your normal benefit payments or tax credits.

These additional cost of living payments will be made separately from your normal payments. They are not taxable and will not affect any of the benefits or tax credits you get.

Low income (means tested) benefits

You may get a Cost of Living Payment of £650, paid in two instalments of £326 and £324. To be eligible for the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you will need to have been entitled to (or later become entitled to) one of the following benefits 

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

Income-based JSA or ESA, Income Support and Pension Credit eligibility

To get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

Universal Credit eligibility

To get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022. 

You will not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if your earnings reduced your Universal Credit to £0 for the qualifying assessment period. This is sometimes called a ‘nil award’. If money has also been taken off for other reasons (such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe), you might still be eligible.

The first cost of living payment of £326 will be paid to most eligible people in Northern Ireland from 20 July onwards - these payments will continue until the end of July.

This cost of living support payment will appear in your account or on your Payment Exception Service voucher as ‘DWP Cost of Living’.

Your payment might come later, for example if you are awarded a qualifying benefit at a later date, or you change the account your benefit is paid into. You will still be paid the Cost of Living Payment automatically.

This page will be updated when the entitlement dates for the second payment of £324 have been confirmed or when any other further information becomes available.

If you have a joint claim with a partner, you will get one Cost of Living Payment, paid in two instalments, if eligible. If you also receive a qualifying disability benefit, you may get an additional Disability Cost of Living Payment.

Tax Credits

You may get a Cost of Living Payment of £650, paid in two instalments of £326 and £324, if you have an award for either of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

The first payment of £326 will be made from autumn 2022. Your payment might come later, for example if you are awarded qualifying Tax Credits at a later date or you change the account your Tax Credits are paid into. You will still be paid the Cost of Living Payment automatically.

To be eligible you must have received a payment, or an annual award of at least £26, of tax credits on any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

This page will be updated when the entitlement dates for the second payment of £324 have been confirmed or any other information becomes available.

If you have a joint claim with a partner, you will get one Cost of Living Payment, paid in two instalments, if eligible.

If you get both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, you will receive a Cost of Living Payment for Child Tax Credit only.

You will not get a Cost of Living Payment from HMRC if you have already received a low income (means tested) Cost of Living Payment. However, if you also receive a qualifying disability benefit, you may get an additional Disability Cost of Living Payment.

Disability benefits

You may get a lump sum payment of £150 if you get any of the following:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

If you are in receipt of more than one of these disability benefits, only one Disability Cost of Living Payment is payable.

You will need to have been entitled to (or later become entitled to) one of these qualifying benefits on 25 May 2022 to get the payment. You will get the payment in September 2022.

If you also receive a qualifying low income (means tested) benefit or tax credits, you may get an additional Cost of Living Payment.

Help for pensioners

Pensioner households will receive an extra £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment this year to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter.

If you are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023, you will get this extra £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2022.

You will get this Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as well as any Cost of Living Payment you may receive  with your qualifying benefit or tax credits.

People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 and 25 September 2022.

The full amount of Winter Fuel Payment you will get for winter 2022 to 2023 will depend on your circumstances.  There is more information on the followng page:

Not entitled to Cost of Living Support payment

People who get the following benefits only, will not be eligible for a cost of Living Support payment:

  • Carers Allowance
  • New-Style or contribution based Jobseeker’s Allowance unless you get Universal Credit or a disability benefit as well
  • New-Style or contribution based Employment and Support Allowance unless you get Universal Credit or a disability benefit as well
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Scams relating to Cost of Living Payments

If you get a suspicious email or text from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the Department for Communities asking for bank details, you should report it. 

DWP or the Department for Communities will not ask for bank details by text or email or send a link to click into within a text or email.

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