New DWP cost of living payments announced for Universal Credit and other benefit claimants

A person taking UK bank notes from an ATM machine
-Credit: (Image: Mirrorpix)

The Department for Work and Pensions has released information regarding eligibility for a new round of summer cost of living payments. Thousands are set to receive financial assistance between now and the end of September, thanks to the six-month extension of the Household Support Fund.

The amount available depends on how each local authority chooses to utilise its allocation. The DWP is providing data and information to authorities to help identify those in need within their communities.

These include Universal Credit claimants with limited work capability or earnings below the thresholds for free school meals and prescriptions. It also includes recipients of the Guarantee Credit and/or Savings Credit elements of Pension Credit, those on income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and individuals who only receive Housing Benefit, reports Birmingham Live.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has emphasised that help is not solely restricted to vulnerable households receiving benefits. It encourages local councils to utilise other sources of information in identifying individuals who qualify for extra aid.

This includes suggestions or referrals from professionals like social workers, early help key workers and family support, health visitors, and housing support officers.

Officials highlight that the Household Support Fund aims to assist a broad spectrum of low-income households in need. This covers families with children across all age groups, pensioners, unpaid carers, people leaving care and disabled individuals, larger families, single-person households as well as those dealing with "one-off financial shocks or unforeseen events."

The department urges local councils to bear in mind the requirements of disabled individuals encountering hardships in managing their conditions, maintaining independence and preventing social isolation. Some are facing high gas and electricity bills due to the energy required to power equipment essential for their medical conditions, while others have higher water or transportation costs.

Authorities are being "strongly encouraged" to probe ways this group may be supported. They also must record the total amount of financial rewards allocated to disabled individuals so the DWP can monitor how the funds have been utilised.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has highlighted the importance of including care leavers and carers in the new support measures, stating: "Care leavers can face particular barriers as they leave the care system and begin to live independently. For example, care leavers may not have access to the same familial networks as others and will not have the same financial, emotional or social support systems that enable them to live independently, respond to crisis or avoid becoming socially isolated."

The DWP also noted the significance of assisting those with caring responsibilities: "Authorities should also consider supporting people with caring responsibilities in their area. They may have additional heating, water or transport costs."