Cost-of-living payment details announced: up to £1,350 is available but pensioners risk missing out

Cost of living payments will see 8 million households receive up to £1,350 between spring 2023 and spring 2024. Retirees who don’t claim pension credit risk missing out

Roll of UK bank notes
(Image credit: Getty images)

Millions of households on low incomes will receive cost of living payments in three instalments, with the first part to be paid after 6 April, the government has confirmed today.

The first payment of £301 will be released in spring, while the second payment of £300 will be made in the autumn and the third instalment of £299 will be paid in spring 2024. Exact dates are yet to be announced. We’ll update this article as soon as we know more.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt first announced the cost of living payments in last year's Autumn Statement, with the money expected to help households with high energy bills and rising food bills.

The government has also today confirmed that a £150 cost-of-living payment will be paid to those with disabilities in the summer, while a £300 payment will be paid to pensioners in winter of 2023-24. Again, exact dates are yet to be announced.

It means that if you qualify for all payments, you'll get the full £1,350 on offer. For example, if you claim pension credit and attendance allowance and receive the winter fuel payment you'll get the full amount. All payments are tax-free and do not affect existing benefit payments. 

Older people are at risk of missing out on cost of living payments if they don’t claim pension credit: the government estimates 850,000 households are eligible for the benefit but don’t claim it

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, says: “Almost a million pensioner households could miss out if they aren’t signed up to receive pension credit when they’re entitled to do so. They face a double whammy of missing out on the benefit, as well as the cost of living support payment. 

“The rule of thumb is that any single pensioners who have income of less than £200, or couples with less than £300, a week should check their entitlement through the government pension credit website (opens in new tab) or the free pension credit calculator from charity Turn2Us (opens in new tab).” 

How will I receive the cost of living payments?

Spring 2023 - the first instalment of the cost of living payment: £301

In spring this year, after 6 April, the first instalment of the £900 cost of living payment will be paid directly into benefit claimants' accounts. There's no need to apply for the help - instead, the DWP will be in touch.

To be eligible for this payment, you will need to be claiming at least one of the following:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)

For last year’s £650 cost of living payment, you had to be entitled to one of these benefits by a certain date. This certain date will be announced nearer the time, the government said. We’ll update this article as soon as we know more. 

Summer 2023 - the £150 disability payment

Over six million people with disabilities will receive a £150 payment this summer.

The exact eligibility criteria for getting the payment has not been announced.

But we can assume eligibility will be similar to last year’s £150 disability cost of living payment, where you had to be eligible for one of the following state benefits: 

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance for adults
  • Disability Living Allowance for children
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

We’ll update this article as soon as we know more.

Autumn 2023 - second instalment of the cost of living payment: £300

The second instalment of the £900 cost of living payment will be paid in autumn. This second payment is worth £300.

Again, we’ll update this article as soon as we know more.

Winter 2023/2024 - £300 pensioner payment

Millions of pensioners will receive a £300 cost of living payment.

Again, the exact eligibility criteria for getting the payment has not been announced.

But we can assume eligibility will be similar to last year’s pensioner cost of living payment that was paid with the Winter Fuel Payment.

In this case pensioners qualified for the payment if:

  • You were born on or before September 25, 1956
  • You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the "qualifying week"

Spring 2024 - Final instalment of the cost of living payment: £299

Recipients will see the final cost of living payment worth £299 in spring next year.

Katie Binns

Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities.  Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.