Self-employed people on a low income could be eligible for cost of living payments of up to £900 if they are entitled to a means-tested benefit, such as Universal Credit, in the relevant qualifying period. To qualify for the first payment of £301 an individual would need to have been entitled to a payment of either Universal Credit for an assessment period ending between 26 January and 25 February 2023 a payment of another DWP means-tested benefit for any day between 26 January and 25 February 2023; or have received (or later be found to have been entitled to) a payment of tax credits for any day in the same period. As with the first payment, the qualifying dates for the second and third payments of £300 and £299 will be set out in secondary legislation and announced once these regulations have been made.
We have kept the eligibility rules for the cost of living payments as simple as possible in order to deliver them promptly and accurately. Whatever eligibility dates are selected there will be always be some individuals who are ineligible in the qualifying period – whether that is due for example to their earnings, capital or other income, or for a combination of reasons. Our decision to make three separate payments over 2023/24 will however reduce the chance of someone missing out altogether.
To help households with the costs of essentials, including those who may not be eligible for cost of living payments, we are also extending the Household Support Fund in England. The Devolved Administrations will receive Barnett funding to spend at their discretion and with their local knowledge.