The UK has been rocked by the outbreak energy bills, gasoline price hikes and other rising expenses amid the cost of living crisis.
Many families and households have been pushed into poverty, with half of people saying their health has deteriorated since costs started to rise.
However, less than 24 hours after the publication of Sue Gray’s damning Partygate report, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a series of measures to help struggling households cope.
If you’ve been worried about how to cover the costs, you’ll be happy to know you could be eligible for over £1,000 of support which no longer needs to be repaid – a huge turnaround from the offers initials presented by the government just a few months ago.
Here’s everything you need to know about each cost-of-living measure that’s been announced and whether you’re eligible for the incentives.
All new government support for cost of living
As gas prices hit record highs amid rising demand following lockdowns and the Russian-Ukrainian war, meaning Russia’s gas supply is at risk, energy bills increased by hundreds of pounds.
People in the UK have struggled to cope with the steep rise in the cost of living and have felt let down by the government due to the lack of support.
However, all UK households will now receive a £400 subsidy towards their energy bills in October 2022.
Previously, this was just £200 per household and the energy bill rebate would have had to be paid back over five years, despite the rising cost of living.
This has now been removed and the £400 Universal Energy Bill Support will no longer need to be repaid.
You don’t have to do anything to claim the grant and it will automatically be credited to accounts in October.
If you prepay energy bills, the money will be received as a voucher, check or directly to your smart meter.
Commenting on the decision, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The outlook for energy prices has changed. I have decided that these refunds will be cancelled. So, for the avoidance of doubt, this support is now unambiguously a subsidy.
“In addition, we have decided that the £200 support for household energy bills will be doubled to £400 for everyone else.”
Payment of the cost of living in the event of disability
People in Britain who receive disability benefits will receive a one-time payment of £150 for cost of living.
Given the potential need for equipment in the home that may require significantly more energy, this money will be tax exempt and will not count towards the benefit cap. It will also not affect any existing benefit awards.
the The government’s website says: ‘We know people with disabilities may face a wide range of additional costs, such as specialist equipment, specialist food and increased transport costs, and this payment will contribute to these costs as they are likely to have increased.”
To be eligible for this payment, you will receive one or more of the following benefits – or have started a successful claim by Wednesday, May 25, 2022:
- Disabled allowance
- Payment for personal independence
- Attendance allowance
- Scottish invalidity benefits
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant attendance allowance
- War pension mobility supplement
“Claimants must receive or have started a possibly successful claim for one of these benefits by May 25, 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.
This sum will be paid by September 2022, with the aim of helping those who are “most vulnerable to rising prices”, according to the government’s website.
Winter fuel payment and one-time cost of living payment for retirees
Retirement households will also receive a separate one-time payment of £300 to cover energy bill costs. This will be paid to those who receive the winter fuel payment or “heating allowance”.
To be eligible for the winter fuel payment, you will need to be born on or before September 26, 1955 and have lived in the UK for at least one day of the “qualifying week” September 20-26, 2021.
Those eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment can receive between £200 and £300 each year, and this amount is also tax free. It is paid annually and should be received by November or December 2022.
The winter fuel allowance and the one-time pensioner’s allowance should be paid automatically into your account. This means you could receive between £500 and £600, in total, if you qualify.
The Chancellor told the House of Commons: “From the autumn we will be sending over eight million pensioner households who receive the winter fuel payment a one-time additional payment of £300 towards the cost of life of retirees.
Cost of living payment for low-income households
More than eight million low-income households in the UK will receive a one-off payment of £650 to help them cope with the rising cost of living.
The payment will be split into two parts paid in July 2022 and fall 2022.
Like other payments, this will be tax-free and will not affect the benefit cap or existing benefit allowances.
If you’re wondering what classifies a low-income household and whether you qualify for this payment, here are the government criteria.
You will receive one or more of the following benefits – or have started a successful claim by Wednesday, May 25, 2022:
- Universal Credit
- Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Income Support Benefit
- Income support
- Work Tax Credit
- Child tax credit
- Pension credit
Payment will be made automatically, so you don’t have to do anything to claim.
Where does the additional funding for the government’s cost of living come from?
Given the panic and turmoil that Britons went through following the rise in the cost of living just a few months ago, many are wondering where that support was at the time.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that in order to pay for the additional support, a 25% energy profit tax would be introduced for oil and gas companies to reflect their profits.
He told the House of Commons: ‘We know people are facing cost-of-living challenges and that’s why today I’m stepping in with extra support to help cope with the rising energy bills.”
“We have a collective responsibility to help those who are paying the highest price for the high inflation we face. That’s why I’m targeting this important support on millions of the most vulnerable people in our society. I said we would support people and this support is doing that today.
“It is also right that those companies that are making extraordinary profits from record world oil and gas prices are contributing to this. That’s why I’m introducing a temporary energy profit tax to help pay for this unprecedented support in a way that encourages investment.
MORE: How can multi-millionaire Rishi Sunak relate to struggling people like me?
MORE: Every home in the UK will receive a £400 grant to help with rising energy bills
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