A range of support payments have been rolled out this year as the UK battles a worsening cost of living crisis.
Some of these were announced by Rishi Sunak in February after a rise to the energy price cap was confirmed, such as the £150 council tax rebate.
A range of further measures were then unveiled by the Chancellor in May as the crisis deepened, with an extension of the separate bills rebate scheme and a one-off £650 payment for some of the nation’s poorest households.
It might be tricky to keep track of exactly what you are entitled to and when you could receive the payments – here’s everything you need to know.
When will I get the council tax rebate?
The roll-out of the council tax rebate began in April 2022, as per the timeframe announced by the Government in February.
But the Government’s advice also states that councils have until 30 September 2022 to process the rebate, and reports suggested that only a minority of areas received the payment in April.
The delays left some furious residents, with David Hodgkins, 40, from Huddersfield telling I: “I am frustrated at the wait and poor excuses for reasons for not paying and then moving the goal posts.
“I feel sadly the Government is not doing enough and are protecting the big companies from tax hikes, which affects all of us working class people.”
Many councils encountered problems in their attempts to issue the payments, with Swale in Kent even mistakenly billed some residents for £150, rather than paying them the owed sum.
Do I need to apply for the council tax rebate?
If you are eligible to receive it you should not have to apply for the payment, so long as you pay your bill by direct debit.
The grant should instead be automatically be credited to your account, with the rebate provided as a separate payment, rather than as part of your council tax bill.
However, if you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, it’s a more complicated process. The approach varies from council to council, which means you might have to fill out a form to get it.
Given the inconsistencies between areas, your best bet to check on the rebate is by visiting your local council’s website or contacting them directly.
People around the UK can find their council by using the Government’s postcode checker here. There are also full lists of local authorities with links to their individual websites for Scotland here and for Wales here.
Who can claim the council tax rebate?
The council tax rebate is being paid to households whose home was in council tax bands A to D on 1 April this year.
If you live in England or Wales you can find out your council tax band by entering your postcode into the government website here, while those who live in Scotland will need to use the Scottish Assessors website.
Your council tax band is based on the price the property would have sold for on the open market on 1 April 1991 in England and Scotland, and 1 April 2003 in Wales.
In England bands A to D cover properties with a value of up to £88,000, in Scotland the upper limit is £58,000 and the threshold for Wales is £123,000.
When will I get the £650 cost of living payment?
The Government announced that the payment will be issued directly to households on means-tested benefits in two lump sums, with one paid in July and another in autumn.
The first installment of the £650 will automatically land in bank accounts from 14 July, continuing to the end of the month.
For those qualifying for the one-off payment through tax credit and working tax credit, the two facilities will be paid in autumn and winter instead.
For joint benefits claimants the Governments: “If you have a joint claim with a partner, you will get one payment of £650 for advise both of you, paid in two lump sums from July 2022 and in autumn 2022, if eligible.”
If you are eligible for the payment, there is no need for you to apply – the £650 will be submitted to you automatically.
It will be tax-free for all eligible groups, will not affect the benefit cap and will not affect existing benefit awards.
Who can get the cost of living payment?
According to the Government’s guidance, the payment will be given to all households on means tested benefits, including those receiving the following:
- Universal credit
- Income-based jobseekers allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- child tax credit
- Pension credit
It advises that claimants will need to be in receipt of one of these benefits, or have begun a successful claim, as of Wednesday 25 May.
Means tested benefits are awarded based on your income and how much capital you have – if someone can demonstrate that their income and capital are below a certain level, they qualify.
When will I get the £400 energy support payment?
The original plan for the energy bill rebate, announced earlier this year, was for households to receive a £200 discount on their energy bills in October, with the Government meeting the costs.
This rebate would have been paid back over five years from 2023, with customers paying an additional £40 on their bills each year.
However, the Chancellor announced in May the discount would be increased to £400 and will no longer have to be paid back.
Energy suppliers will send the money to households with a domestic electricity meter over six months, starting from October.
Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
Almost everyone is eligible to receive the energy bill rebate, although there might be issues if you rent your property and your energy bill is included in your rent, as the money would be paid to your landlord.
Your landlord should then pass the rebate on to you, but there is nothing to make them do this.
What other cost of living support is there?
Beyond these measures, Mr Sunak also confirmed in May that pensioners who qualify for the winter fuel payment will receive an additional £300 this year.
This applies to about eight million households in Britain, with the extra money paid directly into their bank accounts.
Most winter fuel payments are made automatically in November or December, and eligible groups should receive it by 13 January 2023 at the latest.
Additionally, around six million people on disability benefits are set to receive an additional £150 in support payments this year.
The financial support will be offered to each disabled individual, meaning households with multiple people on disability benefits will receive multiple support packages. If you are eligible, the one-off payment should be paid directly from September.