Who is and isn't eligible for cost of living payments?
The first of a series of cost of living payments are landing in people's bank accounts, but only certain people are entitled to the support
Pensioners on low incomes have been urged to check if they are eligible for pension credit that is worth more than £3,500 a year.
There are only 10 days to go until the deadline to claim pension credit and still qualify for the government's latest £301 cost of living payment.
Those pensioners who successfully claim by 19 May may still receive the £301 payment.
People who think they may be eligible can check by using the government's online pension credit calculator.
Pension credit is designed to help people over state pension age and on a low income with daily living costs, though someone does not need to be in receipt of the state pension to receive it.
It tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners and to £306.85 for couples or more if a person has a disability or caring responsibilities.
Read more: How to claim pension credit and get £301 cost of living payment
About 1.4 million pensioners across Britain receive pension credit, but many who could be eligible are not claiming this extra financial help.
The government has a dedicated How To Claim page to show people how to claim pension credit. It can be done online, by phone or by post.
Yahoo News UK explains below who is eligible for the government's cost of living payments:
What are the cost of living payments?
Between 25 April and 17 May, more than eight million households are receiving a £301 cost of living payment from the government.
It is 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.
The Department for Work and Pensions will send payments automatically and directly to recipients’ bank accounts, with a reference of their national insurance number followed by “DWP COL”.
A second payment of £300 will be made in the autumn, with a third instalment of £299 scheduled for spring next year.
There will also be further payments worth £150 for eligible people with disabilities and £300 for pensioners due later this year, meaning some people will receive up to £1,350.
Who is eligible for the payments?
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)
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.
Some more details
Universal Credit - You will be 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 be 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 1 and 9 pence, 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 are eligible for the first cost of living payment.
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
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.
'Easing the strain of high prices'
The payments follow credits of up to £1,200 to support over eight million low-income households in 2022 as the country faced an unprecedented surge in inflation.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: "I know these are tough times for families across the UK who are struggling to meet rising food and energy costs, driven by the aftershocks of COVID and Putin’s war in Ukraine.
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"That’s why we’re putting a further £900 into the pockets of over eight million low income households next year.
"These payments are on top of above inflation increases to working-age benefits and the Energy Price Guarantee, which is insulating millions from even higher global gas prices.
"Tackling inflation is this government's number one priority and is the only way to ease the strain of high prices, drive long-term economic growth and improve living standards for everyone."