Am I eligible for extra £600 cost of living payment?

Yahoo News takes a look at who is entitled to a series of cost of living payments. (PA)
Yahoo News takes a look at who is entitled to a series of cost of living payments. (PA)

Millions of pensioners across the UK are due to receive a cost-of-living support payment of up to £600 paid directly into their bank by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It comes as the government seeks to help older people cope with spiralling food and energy bills, with those eligible set to receive letters in the coming weeks telling them how much they'll get.

Regular winter fuel payments for people aged over-66 are to be given a boost this year with an additional 'pensioner cost of living payment'.

This is addition to a separate £300 cost-of-living support payment applying to more than seven million recipients, which is due to be paid into people's bank accounts from 31 October 31 to 19 November.

People on means-tested benefits, such as universal credit, tax credits or pension credit are eligible for this payment.

Here, Yahoo News UK explains who is eligible for the government's cost of living payments.

Read more:

What are winter fuel payments?

If you were born before 25 September 1957, you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills, the government says.

Usually, pensioners would receive £100 to £300 per household, with the higher amount applying to over-80s, but this year an extra sum is being added on to help with the cost of living.

This pensioner cost of living payment is between £150 and £300, which people will receive in winter 2023 to 2024.

Eligible recipients will get a letter in October or November to say how much they'll get, with payments due to be paid in November or December.

"This is in addition to any other cost of living payments you get with your benefit or tax credits," the DWP says.

If you haven't received a letter but think you may be owed the payment, you can check if you need to make a claim here. You can find out what to do if you haven't been paid here.

What are the cost of living payments?

Between 25 April and 17 May, more than eight million households received a £301 cost of living payment from the government.

It was the first of three payments, totalling up to £900, for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as universal credit or pension credit, in 2023/24.

A second payment of £300 will be made from 31 October, with a third instalment of £299 scheduled for spring next year.

The DWP will send payments directly to recipients’ bank accounts, with a reference of their national insurance number followed by “DWP COL”.

Meanwhile, there have also been payments of £150 for eligible people with disabilities and £300 for pensioners, meaning some people will receive up to £1,350.

Who is eligible for the payments?

The cost of using a gas hob will rise by more than £100 a year. (Yahoo News UK)
Cost of living payments have been introduced amid rising energy and food costs. (Yahoo News UK)

You may be entitled to up to three cost-of-living payments if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain dates:

  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)

  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)

  • Income support

  • Pension credit

  • Universal credit

  • Child tax credit

  • Working tax credit

The credits will be made separately from regular benefit payments, and those who are eligible don't have to apply as the payments will be made automatically.

People eligible for payments who are claiming tax credits only, who do not qualify for a payment from the DWP, will get £300 from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between 10 and 19 November.

Some more details...

Universal credit: You would have been eligible for the first cost of living payment if you were entitled to a Universal Credit payment (or later found to be entitled) for an assessment period ending 26 January to 25 February this year.

Income-based JSA, income-based ESA, income support and pension credit: If you were entitled to one of these payments for any day between 26 January and 25 February, you will also have been eligible for the first £301 payment.

If you were entitled to one of these benefits during the period but did not receive a payment because your entitlement is between 1p and 9p, you'll still be eligible for the support payment.

Tax credits: If you received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period of 26 January to 25 February or are later found to have been entitled for this period, you will have been eligible for the first cost of living payment.

What if you haven't received your payment?

Most people should have received their £301 cost of living payment, but anyone who hasn't seen it in their bank accounts can report it as missing.

This can be done on the government website here.

A shopping trolley is seen at a supermarket in Manchester, Britain, March 22, 2023. The United Kingdom's UK consumer price index CPI rose to 10.4 percent in the 12 months to February 2023 from 10.1 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics ONS said on Wednesday. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Millions of people are set to receive the latest cost of living payment. (Getty Images)

Claimants will need their national insurance number. The government advises: "Before reporting a missing payment, check your bank, building society or credit union account, or your payment exception service voucher receipt. The payment will be made separately from your benefit."

Who is not eligible?

Anyone whose benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period (sometimes known as a "nil award") won't be eligible for the support payment.

This can happen if you got more than one payment of earnings in a universal credit assessment period, if your partner's earnings or savings increased, if you started receiving another benefit, or if you got a "sanction" for not following the rules.

Read more: Experts demand universal credit overhaul during cost of living crisis (from April)

If your benefit is reduced to £0 you could still be eligible if money was taken off for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe.

You could still be entitled if you had a hardship payment after a sanction left you unable to pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.