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Cost of living payments paid to millions – here's who qualifies and how to claim if you've not got yours

Over eight million households on certain benefits and Tax Credits have received the first third of their £900 cost of living payment. Here's all you need to know on whether you're eligible and how to claim if you're missing your payment.

The £900 grant will be delivered in three chunks of slightly different amounts, all of which will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap and will not have any impact on your existing benefits.

If you're struggling, use our 10-minute benefits check to make sure you're not missing out on vital support.

An online portal is now open for those who didn't get their payment by 17 May

An online portal is now available to those who think they should have received their cost of living payment but haven't. This portal is primarily for existing benefit claimants, as newly eligible claimants should get the cost of living payment automatically, even after 17 May. 

To report a missing payment, you need to visit the website and input your full name, date of birth, address and national insurance number. 

Most people, if found to be eligible, should receive their payment within two weeks of claiming, although the Government has warned this could take longer depending on the volume of claims. 

The portal will remain open for around three weeks from 18 May, after which you'll be able to report a missing cost of living payment by logging a note in your online benefits journal. 

When you should have received the first £301 cost of living payment

Benefit(s) you get When you should have received your £301 payment
Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit ONLY (without other benefits on top) Between 2 and 9 May 2023
Any of the below (with or without Tax Credits on top):

- Income Support
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit

Between 25 April and 17 May 2023

Key benefit qualifying dates for getting the first £301 payment

To get the £301, you need to have been paid (or have been eligible for a payment of) one of the benefits or Tax Credits listed below for any day between 26 January 2023 and 25 February 2023.

This means that you may be eligible for this new payment even if you didn't get last year's £650 payment.

However, we've heard some people on Universal Credit are at risk of missing out because of how the eligibility period falls in relation to their assessment period and pay frequency. 

If you're on low-income benefits, such as Universal Credit, you're entitled to the cost of living payment

You are eligible for the cost of living payment if you are entitled to any of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit – unless your Universal Credit was reduced to £0 for the entire period between 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023. This is sometimes called a 'nil award' and can happen where you or your partner's earnings or savings go up, you start getting another benefit or you get paid more than one set of wages within that period.
  • Working Tax Credit

If you're not currently getting any benefits and you're on a low income, it's worth using our 10-minute benefits checker to ensure you're not missing out on vital support.

Payments will be automatic for most – beware scammers saying otherwise

If you qualify for these cost of living payments, you should be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefits or Tax Credits.

If you get benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the reference for the payment will be 'DWP COLP', along with your national insurance number. For Tax Credits-only recipients, the payment reference will be 'HMRC COLS'.

Watch out for scam texts or emails inviting you to claim or apply for the payment. The DWP has said it'll never ask you for personal details or banking info over text or email.

Also be warned that if you get a cost of living payment and the DWP later finds you weren't eligible, you may have to pay it back.

Martin Lewis: 'Let's not attack the poorest for getting help and try to make sure we push hard to fix our broken energy system'

Martin Lewis, founder of, said: "This story is about giving information, however we get comments from people who are annoyed about these payments, who say: 'No help for people who work again, I see'.

"So I wanted to make a few quick points, especially as I'm one of those at the forefront of pushing the state to help people, as without such help, many will genuinely face the choice between heating and eating.

"1) Everyone on Universal Credit, the UK's biggest benefit, receives these payments, and 40% of those people are in work. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, so some of the poorest workers do get it.

"2) The current price of energy is actually a state subsidy called the 'Energy Price Guarantee', which undercuts the 'Energy Price Cap' that would be paid if there was no subsidy. So there is a form of universal help people are receiving, but may not be aware of (though, as even those who don't need it, like me, get it, I feel it stretches too high up the net and should be focused on lower to middle incomes).

"3) I understand the annoyance with so many people struggling right now, and the fact benefits have a hard cut-off. Those just above the benefits threshold will, rightly, feel chagrined about this, but let's not attack the poorest for getting help and try to make sure we push hard to fix our broken energy system."

More cost of living payments will follow later in the year – including for people with disabilities and pensioners

In 2023/24, there are three different cost of living payments available. Depending on your personal circumstances, you could be eligible for one, two, or all three – meaning some will get £1,350 in total.

If you're on low-income benefits, you'll get up to £900 – paid from April 2023

If you're one of the eight million households that get the means-tested benefits listed above, you could get up to £900 in cost of living payments paid in three instalments:

  • £301 – paid by 17 May 2023 (see above for what to do if you didn't get it)
  • £300 – during autumn 2023 (payment and eligibility dates yet to be confirmed)
  • £299 – during spring 2024 (payment and eligibility dates yet to be confirmed)

Each amount is slightly different, so it's easier for the DWP and HM Revenue & Customs to clearly track whether you've been paid the right payment at the correct time.

If you claim certain disability benefits, you'll get £150 – paid from 20 June 2023

If you're one of six million people who get certain disability benefits, you should get a £150 one-off payment paid between 20 June and 4 July 2023. You can get this on top of the up to £900 means-tested cost of living payment, and/or the £300 pensioner payment.

You could get the £150 payment if you're on any of the following benefits:

  • Adult disability payment (in Scotland)
  • Armed forces independence payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Child disability payment (in Scotland)
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • War pension mobility supplement

For the full eligibility criteria, including the key qualifying dates, see our disability cost of living payment MSE News story.

If you're above state pension age, you'll get £300 – paid in winter 2023/24

If you're entitled to winter fuel payment, and are above state pension age (aged 66 and over), you'll get a top-up of £300 in winter 2023/24.

If you're eligible, you'll be sent a letter in October or November 2023 telling you how much your total winter fuel payment will be.

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