New £200 cost of living payment announced for thousands of households

Birmingham shoppers in New Street, with Waterstones in the background
-Credit: (Image: Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)


A new £200 cost of living payment has been announced for thousands of households. Funding provided by the Department for Work and Pensions will be handed out in one-off sums to help with the cost of food, gas, electricity, water and other essential goods and services.

The DWP has given £421 million to local authorities in England for them to continue the Household Support Fund until the end of September 2024. A slice of the cash went to Birmingham City Council which will distribute it via Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) to help hard-hit families in the city.

BVSC has issued a new update that the funding is now being "made available to ease the financial burdens faced by its vulnerable citizens living in Birmingham." Grants of up to £200 will go to residents who have not already received a similar sum in the past 12 months.

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The Department for Work and Pensions says it is providing councils with data and information on specific benefits to help them identify those in need in their area. These eligible claimants include those on Universal Credit who have limited capability for work or earnings below the free school meals and free prescription thresholds; people receiving the Guarantee Credit and/or Savings Credit elements of Pension Credit; people on income-related Employment and Support Allowance; and those only in receipt of Housing Benefit.

BVSC says it will be distributing grants to Birmingham households who are currently facing financial hardship, with the funds intended to help with food costs and energy payments.

It explained: "We will continue to accept applications until 30th September 2024, or until all funding has been exhausted if sooner. You must be a Birmingham resident, you must be experiencing financial hardship, particularly with regard to covering costs linked to food and energy, and your household must not have received a £200 grant payment in the last 12 months.

"Please be aware that you may be expected to provide proof of address and proof of means-tested benefits (if you are in receipt of them) in the case that you are invited to apply."

BVCS says the means-tested benefits in its eligibility criteria include Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Social Funds (Cold Weather Payment, Sure Start, Maternity Grant), Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit), Universal Credit, Free School Meals Vouchers and Healthy Start Vouchers.

Potential applicants can complete an enquiry form at this dedicated web portal to assess their suitability for a grant payment. You'll be asked about cost of living issues including energy bill arrears, whether you've been forced to cut down on electricity and gas usage because of affordability, and if you've used food banks or free meal services. You will then be contacted via email to say if you were successful and outlining the next steps. Anyone unable to access the website should call 0121 634 7100 instead.

BVSC added: "The application system actively monitors submitted applications looking for signs of fraud and details of any attempts to make fraudulent applications and/or fraudulently receive grant funding will be shared with West Midlands Police.

"Receiving a grant from this fund will not impact on any other benefits you may be receiving or may be entitled to. Grant payments are made directly into a bank account in the applicant's name."

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