Who is eligible for the July cost-of-living payment?

Eight million households in the UK are set to receive their first cost-of-living payment next month as part of a government bid to ease rising costs for the most vulnerable.

Low-income households will receive £326 on 14 July and a second instalment of £324 in the autumn. 

The payment is part of a £15bn emergency cost-of-living package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, and is to be paid for in part by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. 

In a statement, Sunak said: “We have a responsibility to protect those who are paying the highest price for rising inflation, and we are stepping up to help.”

Who is eligible?

The two payments, which add up to £650, will go to qualifying low-income households in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, for those receiving means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Pension Credit.

To be eligible for the first instalment, people must have started a successful benefits claim by 25 May.

When will eligible households receive their payments?

The first instalment of £326 will start to hit bank accounts on 14 July, although some may have to wait until 31 July, according to the Daily Mirror. A further payment of £324 will be sent to qualifying households in the autumn, with the date yet to be announced. 

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The payments have been made “deliberately slightly unequal” in order to “minimise fraud risks from those who may seek to exploit this system”, said the Department for Work and Pensions.

What other support is available?

All households are set to receive a £400 energy discount in October, while those living in properties in council tax brackets A-D will also receive a £150 council tax rebate. It means the poorest households are set to receive some £1,200 in support this year.

Further government support includes a separate £300 payment for pensioners, and a £150 payment for disabled people, which will be paid on top of the £650 for those eligible.

The consumer group Which? told the BBC that the extra money would “bring relief to many”. But policy director Rocio Concha added that “the success of these measures will ultimately be judged by whether financial help is getting to the most vulnerable in time to help them through this cost-of-living crisis”.