Cost of living: Timeline, key dates and deadlines of payments in the coming months

File photo dated 19/11/14 of an elderly lady with her electric fire on at home, as more than 60 charities have written to the Prime Minister demanding more support for millions of UK households in fuel poverty. A survey for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition suggests 76% of people think the Government is not doing enough to support vulnerable households this winter. Despite the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme pledged by the Government, 58% of the population still believe they will struggle to pay their bills this winter, the poll indicates. Issue date: Thursday November 3, 2022.
There are a range of government support schemes to help those eligible with their energy bills this winter. (PA)

Millions of Britons are preparing for a difficult winter as the country remains in the grip of a cost of living crisis.

Soaring energy and food costs have left many struggling to cope as inflation – the rate at which prices rise – remains at its highest level for 40 years.

On Thursday, chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled his autumn statement – the government's plan to raise taxes and cut spending in a bid to fill what it calls a £50bn "fiscal black hole" - which he said would "tackle the cost-of-living crisis" and "rebuild our economy".

His plans included what he called "compassionate" measures to help families in need, but he confirmed that energy bills will rise as the energy price guarantee increases from £2,500 to £3,000 from April.

He also unveiled additional cost of living payments, help for pensioners and people on disability benefits, and extra support for people whose homes are heated using alternative fuels such as oil or LPG.

Read more: What is council tax, how much do you pay & why it could be about to go up

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. Picture date: Sunday November 13, 2022.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce his autumn budget this week. (PA)
The cost of living in the UK is rocketing at rates not seen for decades (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
The cost of living in the UK is rocketing at rates not seen for decades (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

Laying out his various measures to help the UK through its current economic crisis, Hunt insisted that help is at hand for millions of Britons who need it.

Here are d: With energy prices spiralling, the government introduced the energy Price Guarantee, which previously sought to limit annual household gas and electricity bills at around £2,500 a year.

The energy price guarantee

The chancellor confirmed that the government will continue the energy price guarantee for a further 12 months from April, but it will be at a higher level of £3,000 per year for the average household, rising from £2,500 a year.

He told the Commons: "With prices forecast to remain elevated through next year, this will still mean an average of £500 support for every household."

The government energy price guarantee at its current level expires in April 2023 (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
The government energy price guarantee at its current level expires in April 2023 (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

What is it: With energy prices spiralling, the government introduced the Energy price guarantee, which previously sought to limit annual household gas and electricity bills at around £2,500 a year.

Hunt has now pledged to continue the scheme from April for a further 12 months but at a higher level of £3,000.

Who is eligible: Everyone who pays gas and electricity bills.

Key dates: The energy price guarantee is set to rise in April.

Warm home discount scheme

What is it: The warm home discount scheme allows households to get £150 off their electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023. The one-off payment has increased by £10 this winter from £140.

The money is not paid directly to customers – instead, it takes the form of a one-off discount on their electricity bill.

Who is eligible: In England and Wales, people qualify if they either receive the guarantee credit element of pension credit or are on a low income and have high energy costs. People can check if they are eligible on the government website.

People with pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meters can still qualify for the discount.

Charities said on Monday they feared that about 500,000 households across England and Wales were now ineligible for the discount because Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments are no longer qualifying benefits.

Key dates: Most eligible households will receive the discount automatically.

Households started to receive the payment from Monday. Those who are eligible will have the discount applied to their bill by their energy supplier by 31 March.

Cost of living payment

In the autumn statement, Hunt confirmed targeted support with the cost of living for those on low incomes, disability benefits and pensioners.

He said additional cost of living payments next year of £900 would be paid to those on means-tested benefits, as well as £300 to pensioner households and £150 for individuals on disability benefits.

What is the cost of living payment: A government payment paid in two instalments to help more than eight million people on low incomes receiving certain benefits.

The total payment of £650 is designed to help people on certain benefits pay for rising energy bills.

A first payment of £326 was paid earlier this year, while the second instalment of £324 started going directly into people's bank accounts from 8 November.

Who is eligible: People who are eligible include those on universal credit, income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), income support and pension credit.

Read more: When is the deadline for receiving the second instalment of £650 cost of living payment?

Claimants must have been claiming and entitled to a payment between 26 August and 25 September 2022, with the exception of pensioner households, who may be able to have a new pension credit claim backdated.

HMRC is also making payments to more than a million people who receive working tax credit or child tax credit and no other eligible benefits.

Key dates: The second instalment of the cost of living payment should reach the bank accounts of those who are eligible by 23 November.

People who think they are entitled to the payment but haven't received it after the deadline has passed should contact the DWP office that normally pays their benefit or tax credits, or report it online on the DWP website.

Energy bills support scheme

File photo dated 03/02/22 of an online energy bill. Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is to set out details of a major Government support package for businesses - running to tens of billions of pounds - to ease the pain of soaring energy bills through the winter. Issue date: Wednesday September 21, 2022.
Britons have been hit with soaring energy bills this past year. (PA)

What is it: This is a £400 non-repayable discount to help households in England, Scotland and Wales with their energy bills this winter.

In the autumn statement, Hunt also announced that households who use alternative fuels such as heating oil and LPG to heat their homes will see their support doubled from £100 to £200, which he said would be delivered as soon as possible this winter.

Who is eligible: Everyone. All households with a domestic electricity connection are eligible for the discount.

Key dates: The discount is applied to household electricity bills across six months, starting in October 2022.

Customers will receive a discount of £66 in October and then in November, followed by £67 payments in December, January, February and March.

Winter Fuel Payment

What is it: A payment to help pensioners pay their heating bills.

Who is eligible: Those born on or before 25 September 1956 (aged 66 and over) could receive between £250 and £600.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8 File photo dated 19/09/13 of a person using a central heating thermostat, as closing windows, turning the heating off, and using log burners to cut energy bills will make people more vulnerable to health risks and accelerate infection spread, a leading expert has said.
Government support is available for those who are eligible this winter. (PA)

The amount received includes a pensioner cost of living payment of between £150 and £300. This is in addition to any cost of living payment received through benefit or tax credits.

People will receive the winter fuel payment automatically if they are eligible and either receive the state pension or another social security benefit.

Key dates: The deadline to make a claim for winter 2022 to 2023 is 31 March.

Cold weather payment

What is it: A payment made if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.

People will receive £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Who is eligible: People may receive a cold weather payment if they are on certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.

Key dates: The scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March.

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