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Third and final cost of living payment paid to millions on certain benefits – what to do if you haven't got yours

More than seven million households on certain benefits including Universal Credit and Tax Credits have now received the third and final instalment of their cost of living payment, worth £299. Here's all you need to know on whether you're eligible and what to do if you're missing your payment.

The 2023/24 cost of living grant was worth £900 in total but was paid in three chunks of different amounts – so it would be easier for the Government to track whether you've got the right payment at the right time:

  • The first instalment, worth £301, was paid in spring 2023.
  • The second instalment, worth £300, was paid in autumn 2023.
  • The third and final instalment, worth £299, was paid between Tuesday 6 February and Thursday 22 February 2024.

The payments are all tax-free, don't count towards the benefit cap and don't have any impact on your existing benefits. 

An online portal is now open for those who didn't get their £299 cost of living payment

If you think you should've received the £299 payment but didn't, you can now report it missing using a simple online form on Gov.uk. You'll need to enter your full name, date of birth, address and national insurance number. Most people should receive a response within two weeks of completing the form.

DWP couldn't tell us how long the portal would stay open, but it told us that once it closes, you'll be able to report a missing cost of living payment by logging a note in your online benefits journal or by calling the helpline for your relevant benefit.

When you should've got the £299 cost of living payment

Here are the payment dates:

Benefit(s) you get When you should have got your £299 payment
Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit ONLY (without other benefits on top) Between 16 and 22 February 2024

Any of the below (with or without Tax Credits on top):

Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance

- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit

Between 6 and 22 February 2024

The Government originally told us the payment dates for those who only get Tax Credits would be the same as for those on other benefits. However, it has since clarified that those on Tax Credits only will get their £299 payments a bit later, from Friday 16 February.

Key qualifying dates to get the £299 payment

To get the £299, you need to have been paid (or have been eligible for a payment of) one of the benefits listed above or below for any day between 13 November 2023 and 12 December 2023.

This means that you may be eligible for this payment even if you didn't receive a £650 cost of living payment in 2022 or the first two cost of living payments in 2023.

Some people on Universal Credit may be at risk of missing out because of how the eligibility period falls in relation to their assessment period and pay frequency – see below for more on this.

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 Credits
  • 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 an assessment period ending between 13 November 2023 to 12 December 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 Credits

If you're on a low income and not currently getting any benefits, use our 10-minute benefits checker to check if you're eligible for support.

Payments will be automatic and you DON'T need to apply – 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 COL', 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. For more info on avoiding fraud – and what to do if you've been scammed – see our 30+ ways to stop scams guide.

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

This is the third and final cost of living payment

Three different cost of living payments – one for people on a low income, one for pensioners, and one for people claiming disability benefits – were announced for 2023/24, with some households being eligible for £1,350 in total.

No further support payments were announced in the 2023 Autumn Statement. However, the Chancellor did confirm that certain benefits, including Universal Credit, will rise by 6.7% from April 2024.

Here's the full list of cost of living payments for 2023/24, plus how to report a missing payment:

  1. If you're on low-income benefits, you should've got up to £900 – paid from April 2023.

    If you get one of the means-tested benefits listed above, you should have started receiving up to £900 in cost of living payments paid out in three instalments:

    - £301 – paid by 17 May 2023.
    - £300 – paid by 19 November 2023.
    - £299 – paid by 22 February 2024.

    If you were eligible for the most recent payment but you didn't get it, you can report the missing payment via the online portal on Gov.uk. If you're missing either of the first two payments, you'll need to call the phone number of the benefit you claim – you can find the numbers on Gov.uk.

  2. If you're above state pension age, you should've got £300 – paid in winter 2023/24.

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

    If you're eligible, you should have been sent a letter by December 2023 telling you how much your total winter fuel payment would be. As of 6 February 2024, 99% of these payments had been made, according to the DWP.

    If you didn't get a letter but think you qualify, or you've yet to receive your payment, you'll need to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. You have until the end of Sunday 31 March 2024 to send your claim by post, or by the end of Thursday 28 March 2024 to get in touch by phone. The phone line is open on weekdays, excluding bank holidays, between 8am and 6pm.

  3. If you claim certain disability benefits, you should've got £150 – paid from 20 June 2023.

    If you're one of six million people who get certain disability benefits, you should have received an additional one-off £150 payment between 20 June 2023 and 4 July 2023. This was on top of the up to £900 means-tested cost of living payment, and/or the £300 pensioner payment.

    If you think you were eligible but didn't receive a payment, you can report this by calling the phone number for the benefit you claim – you can find the numbers on Gov.uk. To see the full list of eligible benefits, read our story on the disability cost of living payment.

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