Yesterday we heard a new package of measures announced from the Chancellor to help ease pressures on household finances caused by the cost-of-living crisis. Below is a rundown of what was announced and what that might mean for you.
£200 energy ‘loan’ increased to £400 and is no longer repayable.
The £200 ‘loan’ announced earlier this year which was due to be repayable from April 2022, and from 5 years after that through automatic bill increases of £40 a year has been replaced by £400 worth of support on energy bills which will not have to be paid back. Energy suppliers will deliver this support to households with a domestic electricity meter over six months from October. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
£650 one-off Cost of Living Payment for those on means tested benefits.
Households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650 this year, made in two instalments. This includes all households receiving the following benefits:
Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Working Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
The DWP will make the payment in two lump sums – the first from July, the second in the autumn. Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.
Claimants will need to be in receipt of one of these benefits, or have begun a claim which is later successful, as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for the first of the two instalments. HMRC and DWP will provide further guidance, and the government will set out the eligibility date for the second instalment, in due course.
This payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.
Legislation will be introduced shortly to allow payments to be made to this timetable.
One-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
Pensioner households across the UK who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and will be paid on top of any other one-off support a pensioner household is entitled to, for example where they are on pension credit or receive disability benefits. Eligible households currently receive between £200 - £300.
The Winter Fuel Payment (including the extra Pensioner Cost of Living Payment) is not taxable and does not affect eligibility for other benefits.
All pensioner households will get the one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as a top-up to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December. For most pensioner households, this will be paid by direct debit.
People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022. There are certain circumstances where an individual above State Pension age does not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment which can be found here on gov.uk [https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/eligibility]
£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment
People across the UK who receive the following disability benefits will receive a one-off payment of £150 in September:
Disability Living Allowance
Personal Independence Payment
Scottish Disability Benefits
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Constant Attendance Allowance
War Pension Mobility Supplement
-Claimants must be in receipt of, or have begun an eventually successful claim for, one of these benefits as of 25th May 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.
-For the many disability benefit recipients who receive means tested benefits, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.
-These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
-The government will make these payments directly to eligible people across the UK.
£500m increase and extension of Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund which is administered by Local Authorities has been increased by £500m and extended from this October to March 2023.
In Shropshire you can access this support via Shropshire Council's Welfare Support Team. They may be able to help with a number of essential costs including:
Energy and water
Essentials linked to energy and water (e.g. cookers, fridges, freezers, cooking equipment, sanitary products, soap, warm clothing, blankets, boiler service and repair)
Wider essentials (eg phone bills, broadband, other clothing, school uniform, essential transport-related costs, other essential furniture - this list is not exhaustive)
Call 0345 678 9078
Shropshire Council is also working to ensure that these funds reach the households most in need through support with Free Schools Meals over the school holidays as well as some direct payments to eligible households.
Have you received your Council Tax refund?
The £150 Council Tax refund which was announced in February should have already been process for all those who pay via Direct Debit in Shropshire. All Council taxpayers in properties falling in bands A-D are due the refund.
If you don’t pay by Direct Debit Shropshire Council will be sending letters to all eligible households inviting you to claim the £150 refund. You can then use the number from this letter, and your Council Tax number at the link below:
If you are unable to submit the form online you can contact the Benefit and Revenue Team on 0345 678 9002 (opening hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:45am – 5pm and Wednesday 1pm – 5pm).
Worried about money? There’s support out there.