BENEFITS EXPERT: Explaining some of the ‘unclear’ areas around eligibility to cost of living support payment

As of the time of writing some readers may have received or will be due to receive their first cost of living support, since the initial announcement of support some previously “unclear” areas around eligibility have been clarified.

By Lance Fuggle
Friday, 15th July 2022, 10:00 am
A number of clients visiting the Citizens Advice have been concerned by text messages from the DWP directing them to visit the Government website for further information about support. These are genuine messages sent by the DWP.
A number of clients visiting the Citizens Advice have been concerned by text messages from the DWP directing them to visit the Government website for further information about support. These are genuine messages sent by the DWP.

To firstly remind readers support will be available for anyone receiving the following benefits, those being Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Based Employment & Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Pension Credit Guarantee, Child Tax Credit and working Tax Credit. Off all the aforementioned benefits new claimants can currently only claim either UC or Pension Credit. These benefits must have been in payment on or before 25/5/2022.

If you were entitled to these benefits but have not yet claimed please bear in mind only Pension Credit can be backdated for a maximum of 3 months so those readers who may be entitled to this benefit must assess their eligibility and claim if entitled before 25/8/2022. Universal Credit cannot be backdated more than one month under current legislation.

For claimants who are entitled because they are claiming UC must be actually getting some UC, if you have nil entitlement due to earnings for example then you are unlikely to get the payment. There may be claimants who don’t get any UC themselves but get help with rental costs with the money for rent going to directly to their landlord. Such claimants will qualify for the payment.

The first payment of £326 will be made on or after 14th July 2022, the second payment of £324 will be paid in autumn, no date has yet been specified. There is no claiming process and it should be automated but we would advise claimants, mainly pending Pension Credit claimants who can show entitlement to PC on or before 25/5/2022 to always check they’ve been paid as cases like this often slip through the net.

A number of clients visiting the bureau have been concerned by text messages from the DWP directing them to visit the Government website for further information about support. These are genuine messages sent by the DWP. The website only contains information about help available. If readers get a text, visit the website and are then told to enter personal information in order to get help then this is a scam email and a likely attempt to fraudulently obtain ID and/or banking information. Readers should report any such attempts to both The DWP and Action Fraud.