Four Loopholes That Could Prevent You from Receiving £299 Cost of Living Payment



HARD-UP households in the UK will soon receive a much-needed £299 cost of living payment to help with higher energy bills during the coldest time of the year. However, there are several loopholes that could prevent you from receiving this payment. In this article, we will explain these loopholes and provide the necessary guidance to avoid any delays.

You Worked Extra Hours, Got a Pay Rise or a Bonus

If you receive Universal Credit, the amount you get can be affected by the hours you work. If you earned a certain amount during the qualifying period for the £299 payment, you may not qualify for the cash. Working extra hours, receiving a pay rise, or getting a bonus could reduce your payments to zero, meaning you miss out on the cash.

You're Sanctioned

If you were sanctioned during the qualifying period, you may receive a nil-award and miss out on the cost of living payment. However, there are exceptions. If you had deductions for rent or debt payments during that period, or if you received a hardship payment to help with rent, heating, or food, you should still expect to receive the cost of living cash.

You Get Paid Every Four Weeks

Universal Credit recipients who are paid every four weeks may experience a scenario where two paydays fall in one monthly assessment period. This can result in a zero UC payment for that month, potentially causing you to miss out on the cost of living payment if it falls within the same period.

You're Not Claiming Pension Credit

If you haven't claimed pension credit before the qualifying dates for the latest cost of living payments, you won't receive the upcoming payment. However, there is an exception. Pension credit can be backdated several months if you make a successful claim. By making a claim before March 12, you may be eligible to receive the extra £299.

Checks to Make Now to Avoid Delays

If you are eligible for the latest cost of living payment, there are a few checks you should make to ensure your payment is not delayed. Make sure your details are up to date with the DWP and HMRC, including your bank details. If you haven't received a payment by February 23, you can report a missing payment on the government website.

Help You Can Get Instead

If you miss out on the cost of living payment, there are other forms of help available. You may be eligible for support via the Household Support Fund, which varies depending on your location and eligibility. Additionally, there are numerous charities and organizations in the UK that offer cash assistance to struggling families. You can use the Turn2Us grants search tool to find out what help is available in your area.

It's also crucial to ensure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. Use one of the three recommended benefit calculators to see what benefits you may be eligible for:

  • Turn2us
  • Policy in Practice
  • Entitledto

Furthermore, many energy suppliers provide grants to help with energy bills, and low-income households can receive £25 a week through the cold weather payment scheme. If you've been on certain benefits for six months, you may be eligible for a budgeting loan. However, it's important to explore non-repayable assistance options before considering a loan.

Seeking Advice

If you're worried about paying bills, falling behind, or are in debt, there are organizations where you can seek free advice, such as:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060