Seven loopholes that could stop you from getting £301 cost of living payment coming within weeks | The Sun

MILLIONS of households will soon see the first part of the £900 cost of living payment – but some could miss out.

A payment of £301 will be made directly into bank accounts between April 25 and May 17.

Those eligible for the tax-free cash are households receiving certain benefits, including Universal Credit.

The payments are being made as part of a package of wider Government support announced to tackle the cost of living.

It includes a further £300 payment for eligible families in autumn, and then a payment of £299 in spring 2024.

More than eight million people will get the much-needed cash – but some could miss out.


What is a Universal Credit budgeting advance and how much could I get?

Full list of major Universal Credit and benefit changes coming this year

Most people on Universal Credit and other benefits will get the cash – with some exceptions.

You need to be getting one of those payments in the qualifying period between January 26 and February 24 this year.

But crucially, you need to have received a Universal Credit payment of at least a penny in this period.

Unfortunately, there are some instances where the benefit can reduce to zero in the assessment period.

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This is when you have an ongoing claim for the benefit, but for one month, you get nothing.

If this happens at the same time as the cost of living payment qualifying period, then you won't get the cash.

If you miss out this time, try not to worry too much as you may qualify for the future payments.

The qualifying dates will be different but they are yet to be announced by the Government.

Below, we explain five ways that you could end up not getting the payment.

You're sanctioned

You could lose the cost of living payment if you've been sanctioned.

Sanctions are applied if you fail to keep up with your work search commitments, like going for interviews or meting your work coach.

This can reduce your Universal Credit payment and in the worst case, leave you with no payment at all.

An award of zero in the qualifying period due to sanctions mean you don't get the cost of living cash.

If you miss out on the cash because of sanctions, you could try appealing it if you think it's unfair.

If you miss out on cash because of sanctions, you could try appealing it if you think it's unfair – read our guide on how to do that.

You worked overtime

When you're in work and are on Universal Credit, your payments are reduced the more you earn.

This is known as the taper rate and for every £1 you earn over a certain amount your Universal Credit payment is reduced by 55p.

You may have a certain amount you can earn first before the taper rate applies – this is known as the work allowance.

Otherwise it applies to all your earnings.

If you worked overtime then this can push up your earning to an amount where your Universal Credit is reduced to zero for the month.

Unfortunately, if this happens at the same time as the qualifying period for the cost of living payment, it could mean you don't get the cash.

You got a pay rise

Another reason you could earn more and therefore see your Universal Credit payment reduced to zero is if you got a pay rise.

While this is good news as you'll earn more, it could push some to get zero Universal Credit and means they could just miss out on the extra cash.

If you got a backdate pay rise during the qualifying period, that could also end your Universal Credit entitlement and stop you from getting the payment.

You got a bonus

The same could apply if you got a bonus payment between January 26 and February 24 this year.

If you get a bonus payment, this could also reduce your Universal Credit to zero.

This means you could miss out on the first half of the cost of living cash worth £301.

You got a cost of living payment from your boss

If you got a one-off cost of living payment from your boss, this could count as earnings and knock your Universal Credit to zero.

This could also mean you miss out on the first half of the cash.

You get paid every four weeks

People who get paid Universal Credit every four weeks sometimes find two pay days fall in one monthly assessment period.

That means your UC could fall to zero in that month.

If it's the same month as the cost of living payment qualifying period, you could miss out.

You don't claim a benefit you're entitled to

If you didn't apply for a relevant benefit, even though you were entitled during the qualifying week, you won't get the payment.

A Citizens Advice spokesperson said: "This is an important one at the moment as benefits have been uprated and this means some people will have become entitled to Universal Credit and not realised.

"They need to check as Universal Credit can only be backdated for one month and in very specific circumstances."

Meanwhile, we list all of the key dates you need to know about for when the cost of living payments will hit your bank account.

Plus we spoke to a benefits expert to find out how you can avoid getting a claim for help rejected.

Check if you are entitled to benefits

A number of charities have benefits calculators that you can use to work out if you are entitled to any extra help.

This includes:

  • Turn2Us
  • Policy in Practice
  • EntitledTo

It's worth looking into, as if you do qualify, it could make you eligible for the £900 cost of living payment too.

Before you do use such a tool, you should make sure you have all the relevant paperwork to hand, including bank statements and any information on pensions and existing benefits.

You'll also have to give information about yourself, including your age and who you live with.

Remember though, the tools only give you an indication of what benefits you might be entitled to.

Other help if you miss out on the cash

The government recently extended the Household Support Fund until March 31, 2024.

The fund is a central pot of money that has been shared among councils in England.

They then decide how and who to distribute their allotment to, although help is usually offered to those on benefits or low incomes.

The money comes in different forms – some people receive vouchers while others receive cash via bank transfer.

Councils have started opening applications for the latest tranche of the fund so you should check with your local authority what you might be entitled to.

If you don't know what council area you fall under, you can use the government's locator tool on its website.

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Millions of pensioners will receive the £300 cost of living payment too, while those with disabilities will get a £150 payment.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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