Cost of living payment dates: when you’ll get final £299 payment confirmed

Eight million households will receive £299 in February as the final cost of living support payment is paid. Here’s everything you need to know. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed the payments will take place between 6 February and 22 February 2024. This is the third of three cost of living payments, worth a total of £900 to eligible households. It aims to provide financial support during the tough ongoing economic situation.

Even with the payment many will still struggle to pay for their energy – see help with gas and electricity bills for the support available. And if you’re thinking of doing an energy comparison to find a cheaper deal, our guide takes you through what you need to know, including whether it’s better to fix or stick with the energy price cap

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Who can get cost of living payments?

The cost of living payments are available to households receiving some form of means-tested benefits or tax credits. These include:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit

In order to be eligible for the third and final cost of living payment, you will need to have been paid (or have been entitled to) a qualifying benefit or tax credit between 13 November and 12 December 2023.

How will I receive my cost of living payment?

The cost of living payments are made automatically, with the final payment being made between 6 February and 22 February 2024 for most people.

As a result, you don’t need to do anything to actively claim them ‒ the money will simply be paid directly to you.

For claimants of joint tax credits, payments will be made into the bank account receiving the Child Tax Credit rather than the account receiving Working Tax Credits.

Those who receive only tax credits, rather than both tax credits and means-tested benefits, will receive their payment between 16 February and 22 February 2024.

If you receive means-tested benefits, then the payment reference in your bank account will be DWP COL followed by your National Insurance number. If you are getting tax credits then the reference on the payment will be HMRC COLS.

Not got the second cost of living payment? If you’re eligible, you should have received your second cost of living payment by now. If you’ve not received yours you can report it missing at GOV.UK.

Do I have to pay tax on the cost of living payments?

You do not have to pay tax on the cost of living payments.

Not only are the payments themselves tax-free, but they also do not count towards the benefit cap. In addition, receiving these payments will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

Are you still struggling with energy bills?

While the cost of living payment is helpful, many households will still struggle with their bills this winter. See what help you can get with your gas and electricity bills, including firm-by-firm hardship grants you may be eligible for.

Further support may be available in the form of part or wholly subsidised insulation to help with your heating. If your home’s in a lower council tax band and has low energy efficiency, check out the Great British Insulation Scheme to see if you qualify.

You may also qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme, which gives a £150 discount on your winter energy bill. This is a one-off £150 payment applied directly to your electricity or gas bill between October and March.

It’s also a good idea to check with your local council to see if you can benefit from the Household Support Fund. It provides vulnerable households with financial support for everyday necessities, such as energy bills. Find your local council’s website at GOV.UK.

Also, check out our comprehensive energy saving tips to use less gas and electricity to help reduce the cost of your bills.

Beware of cost of living payment scams

Since its launch in the spring, the cost of living payment scheme has been used as a means for scammers to exploit vulnerable people.

Cost of living payment scams include emails, SMS messages, cold calls or fake web ads claiming to be from the DWP. These will attempt to get personal information such as bank account details.

Please bear in mind that cost of living payments are automatic, meaning those eligible don’t have to do anything. The DWP will not attempt to contact you for information, so alarm bells should ring if you’re contacted by anyone saying they’re from the department.

Read how to spot a scam to find out what to do if you think you’re being targeted by fraudsters.