Cost of Living Payments worth £301 and £300 have been given to millions of low-income benefit claimants so far this year to help them pay their bills. The government support scheme will still provide a final payment worth £299 for such claimants.

The Manchester Evening News reported that those receiving the upcoming payment will not need to send in any application as they will be issued automatically to all those eligible in most cases.

To be eligible, claimants will have to have received a payment for one of the following benefits during a yet-to-be-confirmed qualifying period: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Pension Credit or Universal Credit.

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The £900 cost of living payment is one of three cost of living payments provided by the government this year. People on disability benefits are eligible for a £150 payment, while pensioners are also getting a payment of up to £300 alongside their Winter Fuel Payment. That means the total amount of support that one person may be able to get over this year and next is £1,050. As the £900 payment is split into three instalments, there are five payments in total being sent out.

When the £299 cost of living payment could be made:

The DWP is yet to confirm what date the final cost of living payments will start to be made. However, it has been confirmed that it will be issued "by spring 2024 for most people".

Unfortunately, this doesn't give us much to go on but since spring is said to start on March 1 - unless you're going by the Vernal Equinox when it would be nearer to March 20 - it's safe to assume we can expect the £299 payment to be issued by then.

Dates of previous cost of living payments could also offer a clue to what the payment timetable might be. The first cost of living payment for 2023/24 was issued from April 25 this year while the second was issued from October 31. That's 27 weeks apart - or just over six months.

If there is a similar break between the last payment and the next one, then a March/April date is to be expected.

However, in 2022 people did not have to wait so long between payments. Last year, the government handed out cost of living payments worth £650, split into two instalments of £326 and £324. The first instalment was paid to the majority of eligible people between July 14 and 31, while the second payment was made between November 8 and 23. That means the two instalments were paid roughly four months apart.

If the DWP goes back to a four-month period between payments, that would suggest the next payment could be made at the end of February - which seems more likely given that they have said it will arrive 'by spring'.

The DWP is expected to announce the exact payment dates ahead of time. The announcement is usually made around five or six weeks before the date. So, an announcement in the new year is likely.

Which benefits are not eligible for the £299 cost of living payment?

You will not get a payment if you are only getting:

  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Contributory ESA

  • New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Furthermore, you will not be eligible for the payment if your Universal Credit payment was reduced to £0 during the qualifying period - otherwise known as a 'nil award' - in most cases. There are a variety of reasons why you may have received a nil reward, including the following:

  • you got more than one payment of earnings in your Universal Credit assessment period

  • your or your partner’s earnings went up

  • your or your partner’s savings went up

  • you started getting another benefit

  • you got a ‘sanction’ because you did not do something you agreed in your claimant commitment

You may still be eligible for a cost of living payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 and one of the following applies:

  • money was taken off your benefit for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe

  • you had a hardship payment because you got a sanction and could not pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs

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