DWP cost of living: Who can get the £300 pensioner payout?
The UK government announced earlier this year that retired households will receive an additional £300 cost of living payment this winter as part of a package of measures to help them cope with soaring energy bills .
The policy was announced by former Chancellor-turned-Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak along with others, including a decision to cut household utility bills by £400, a one-time payment of £650 for around eight million households on means-tested benefits and one of £150. – excluding payment for around six million people across the UK who receive certain disability benefits.
Mr Sunak has promised further grants if chosen to succeed Boris Johnson as leader, but favorite Liz Truss may have other ideas, although current chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has reportedly told officials Treasury to prepare to issue new checks now that Ofgem’s energy price cap is set to rise in October and again over the next two quarters, initially to £3,600, then to £4,200, then to £5,300.
It is therefore becoming increasingly clear that further measures will be needed to avoid a miserable winter for millions of households, as inflation at 10.1%, its highest level in 40 years, sends the price of consumer goods and fuel while wages stagnate.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s calls for emergency intervention have so far gone unanswered and his successor as Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has set out his own vision for tackling the crisis but, until at present, nothing more has been obtained from a rudderless Conservative government, which will not have a new leader in place until September 6th.
How will the £300 rebate be paid?
It is estimated that eight million retiree households will receive their money automatically when it is added to their Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) in November or December this year.
It is not necessary to apply for it and it is sufficient to have exceeded the legal retirement age of 66 during the reference week of September 19 to 25, 2022 and to be a beneficiary of the PAM.
Given that this latest grant is usually between £200 and £300 to cover household energy costs, the aid package is effectively double the money already made available each year.
It will be paid per claim, so a couple living together would only be entitled to one payment.
The only conditions under which a person aged 66 or over might not qualify can be found here, along with other relevant information about WFP.
Will I need to give my bank details at any time?
No. The government says no household should be asked to provide their bank details at any time.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that scammers might view the payment as a knock-on opportunity – just as they did when the financial support was announced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a slew of fake remittance emails and texts claiming to be from official bodies.
Vulnerable older people can be seen as potential targets for fraudsters. It is therefore important to remain vigilant and report any potential scammers to the authorities.
Fraudulent texts, for example, can be reported to 7726 and Ofcom has information on how to do this here.
Will I need to refund the money?
No, it is not refundable.
People struggling with their energy bills should contact their supplier. Ofgem’s rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans people can afford and customers can apply for “emergency credit” if they use a prepaid meter and cannot top up.
You can find more information about this and the schemes, grants and benefits available here.