Cost of living payments worth £300 are believed to have landed in more than 8 million bank accounts for people on eligible means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits, between October 31 and November 19, 2023. However, the payment window has now closed and anyone who thinks they are eligible, but has not received the lump sum, can now report it missing online.
The latest figures indicate some 7.5m payments were made to claimants by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with a further 840,000 people on Tax Credits expected to receive the £300 directly from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Guidance on the dedicated cost of living page on GOV.UK states: “The £300 Cost of Living Payment for a low income benefit will be paid between 31 October and 19 November 2023 for most people. You will be able to report it missing from 20 November 2023.”
People can report the payment missing through the online portal on the ‘Find out how to report a missing Cost of Living Payment’ page on GOV.UK, which already includes information for the previous two cost of living payments made in 2023 - the £301 means-tested payment and £150 disability cost of living payment.
The guidance states you will need your National Insurance number to hand before starting the short process.
It also 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.”
The money would have appeared on accounts as either ‘DWP COL’, or ‘HMRC COLS’, along with the claimant’s National Insurance number.
The £300 payment is the second part of the £900 means-tested cost of living financial support with a final payment of £299 due to arrive before Spring 2024.
Qualifying period for £300 cost of living payment
To be eligible for the £300 cost of living payment from DWP:
- You need to have been entitled to a payment for a qualifying benefit between August 18 and September 17, or payment for an assessment period, ending between these dates
To be eligible for the cost of living payment from HMRC:
- You need to have received a payment of Tax Credits for any day in the period between August 18 and September 17
Qualifying benefits for £300 cost of living payment
Eligible households receiving the following benefits should have received the £300 payment:
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit - paid by HMRC if no other DWP means-tested benefit is also claimed
- Child Tax Credit - paid by HMRC if no other DWP means-tested benefit is also claimed
Benefits that do not qualify for £300 payment
You will not get a payment if you are only getting:
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Contributory ESA
- New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
Universal Credit ‘nil awards’
You will not be eligible for the £300 cost of lLiving Payment if your Universal Credit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying assessment period - often referred to as a ‘nil award’.
Guidance on GOV.UK explains: "You will not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period."
Reasons your benefit may be reduced to £0 include:
- you got more than one payment of earnings in your Universal Credit assessment period
- your or your partner’s earnings went up
- your or your partner’s savings went up
- you started getting another benefit
- you got a ‘sanction’ because you did not do something you agreed in your claimant commitment
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You may still have been eligible for a cost of living payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 and one of the following applies:
- money was taken off your benefit for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money you owe
- you had a hardship payment because you got a sanction and could not pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs
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