Households still waiting to get the first half of the government’s £650 cost of living payment are being warned to to beware of scammers.
Millions of claimants on Universal Credit and other benefits started receiving the first £326 instalment last month to help with the soaring cost of living, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said some payments may be delayed.
Most households will have been paid the cash between 14 and 31 July, but those who are yet to receive hit should beware of fraudsters asking them to apply for it.
What should I do if I’m still waiting for this month’s payment?
The DWP advises all eligible households that are still waiting for their £326 to contact the office that pays their benefits.
If you have still not received this money, do not fall for scammers asking you to apply for it as the payment will be issued automatically.
The DWP has said crooks may try and trick people into applying for the £326 payments, allowing scammers to get hold of bank details and other personal information.
A warning issued on the government website reads: "You do not need to apply. You’ll be paid automatically."If you have had a message asking you to apply or contact someone about the payment, this might be a scam."
Who qualifies for the payment?
To be eligible for the first £326 payment, you need to have qualified for one of the following means-tested benefits on 25 May 2022:
- Child Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
If you receive any of the following benefits, you will not be eligible for the cost of living payment:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- ‘New style’ Employment and Support Allowance
- Guardian’s Allowance
- ‘New style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension
- Statutory sick pay
- Statutory adoption, maternity, paternity and shared parental pay
If you get Housing Benefit, but no other benefit, you are also not eligible for the £650 even though it is means-tested. This is because HM Revenue & Customs cannot find you to pay you the money.
Instead, the governmenthas advised people in this position to apply to the Household Support Fund. This is a pot of emergency cash handed out by local councils to people in need.
What other support is there?
If you claim certain disability benefits, there is a £150 cost of living payment due in September, and pensioners in receipt of Winter Fuel Payments will get an extra £300.
Every home in England, Scotland and Wales will also receive £400 off their energy bills, which will be spread out over six months from October.
Rather than a cash payment, the money will be applied directly to your energy account. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account and those with pre-payment meters will have the money added to their meter or paid via a voucher.
Support for people in Northern Ireland has not yet been announced.