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One-off Cost of Living Payments for recipients of certain benefits were first announced in May 2022 and were paid in the second half of that year. In the November 2022 Autumn Statement a further package of Cost of Living Payments was announced, to be paid over the course of the 2023/24 financial year.

The Government has said it has no plans to extend Cost of Living Payments beyond Spring 2024.

Cost of Living Payments

Cost of Living Payments are additional cash payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (and HM Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Defence) to recipients of certain benefits and tax credits throughout the UK. The payments made in 2022 and being repeated in 2023/24 were:

  • Means-tested benefit Cost of Living Payments, paid to recipients of certain means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, most of the legacy benefits and tax credits it is replacing (except Housing Benefit), and Pension Credit.
    • £650 in 2022, payable in two instalments.
    • £900 in 2023/24, payable in three instalments.
  • £150 Disability Cost of Living Payments for recipients of certain non-means-tested disability benefits, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA).
  • £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payments, paid as an addition to the Winter Fuel Payment, to households with at least one person entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for the winters 2022/2023 and 2023/2024.

Household Support Fund and other measures

The Household Support Fund allows local authorities in England to make discretionary payments to people most in need to help towards the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills. It has been allocated funding in tranches since October 2021. The latest allocation of £1 billion (including allocations for devolved governments to use as they see fit) for the 2023/24 financial year was announced alongside the 2023/24 Cost of Living Payments.

There has been no announcement yet on whether funding will be provided to continue the Household Support Fund beyond March 2024. The Government notes it is keeping existing programmes such as the Household Support Fund “under review in the usual way” and that it is having regular conversations with the Treasury.

In addition to Cost of Living Payments and the Household Support Fund, other schemes to support household finances have been introduced since the beginning of 2022. More on these measures can be found on the Commons Library’s cost of living and inflation webpage.  

Recipients and costs

2022 Cost of Living Payments were forecast to cost £8.8 billion, out of an estimated £15.3 billion for the total May 2022 cost of living support package. 2023/24 Cost of Living Payments are forecast to cost over £11 billion.

  • Between 8.1 and 8.2 million households on means-tested benefits and tax credits were forecast to receive each instalment of the meant-tested benefit Cost of living Payments, at a total cost of £5.4 billion in 2022 and just under £7.5 billion in 2023/24.
  • Around 6.3 million people were forecast to receive a Disability Cost of Living Payment in 2022, at a total cost of £0.9 billion. 6.7 million people are forecast to receive a Disability Cost of Living Payment in 2023/24, at a total cost of £1.1 billion.
  • Over 8 million pensioner households received a Pensioner Cost of living Payment of £300 alongside their Winter Fuel Payment in 2022/23, and a similar number will receive the payment in 2023/24, at a cost of £2.5-2.6 billion each year.

The payments are not mutually exclusive, so some households could get all three, depending on their circumstances. People who are eligible for a Cost of Living Payment should be paid automatically and do not need to make an application. Payments should be paid to all eligible people in the same way as their qualifying benefit or tax credit.

Guidance and legislation

Further information on the rules governing the Cost of Living Payments, and on the arrangements for paying eligible households and individuals, can be found in:

The Commons Library published briefings on the primary legislation for both Cost of Living Payment rounds, giving further background to the legislation, and exploring the estimated impact of the support packages:

Further reading

The Commons Library webpage Cost of living and inflation gives links to the Library’s wider publications on the rising cost of living in the UK, including the causes of inflation, the effect on households, and government support.

The Work and Pensions Committee published a report on Cost of living support payments on 14 November 2023. The Government response to the Committee’s recommendations

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