DWP updates on who will get new summer cost of living payments

A person taking UK bank notes from an ATM machine
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The Department for Work and Pensions has released information on the eligibility criteria 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 amounts available will vary depending on how each local authority chooses to utilise its allocation. The DWP is providing data and information to authorities to help them 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 components of Pension Credit, those receiving 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 clarified that support is not limited to vulnerable households receiving benefits. It's urging local authorities to use other information sources to identify those eligible for extra help, including advice or referrals from professionals such as social workers, early help key workers, family support providers, health visitors, and housing support officers.

The DWP emphasises that the Household Support Fund is designed to assist a broad range of low-income households in need. This includes families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers, disabled people, larger families, single-person households, and those dealing with "one-off financial shocks or unforeseen events."

Local authorities are encouraged to consider the needs of disabled individuals who may be struggling to manage their conditions, maintain independence, and avoid social isolation. Some are grappling with high gas and electricity bills due to the energy required to power medical equipment. Others face increased water or transport costs.

Authorities are "strongly encouraged" to explore how this group can be supported and must record the total value of financial awards given to disabled individuals so the DWP can monitor how the funds have been used.

The DWP has highlighted that care leavers and carers should be prioritised in the new support schemes. They stated: "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."

"Authorities should also consider supporting people with caring responsibilities in their area. They may have additional heating, water or transport costs."