Cost of living payments will arrive in bank accounts from Thursday

A domestic radiator

More than eight million households will start receiving the first of two payments totaling £650 to ease cost of living pressures from Thursday.

From July 14, an initial payment of £326 will begin to be paid to low-income households on benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) previously announced.

The second payment of £324 will follow in the fall.

People may be eligible to receive the £650 in two lump sums if they receive certain supports, such as Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment Allowance and support (ESA) linked to income, income support, pension credit, Child tax credit or tax credit for work.

Eligible individuals will be paid automatically, so they do not need to apply and payments may appear on accounts as “Cost of Living DWP”.

The DWP and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have identified those eligible to receive a cost of living payment.

Many people will receive the first payment between July 14 and 31, although for those who benefit from the tax credits, the first payment is due from autumn and the second from winter 2022.

Retiree households will also get an extra £300 to help cover rising energy costs this winter, while people on disability benefits will get an extra £150 payment in September.

From October, households will also get a £400 cut on their energy bills.

People may also see an income boost in their wages this month, as National Insurance (NI) starting thresholds have been raised from £9,880 to £12,570 from July 6.

However, that was after a 1.25 percentage point increase in the NI in April, to help pay for health care and social services.

Households have been warned that they expect to see their energy bills soar further in the coming months.

Cornwall Insight experts said bills could rise from a current high of £1,971 to £3,245 in October and then to £3,364 early next year.

The forecasts are based on what an average household will spend on gas and electricity over the course of a year. A household that buys more energy could have higher bills.

According to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covering adults in Britain between the end of June and the start of July, around nine in 10 (91%) said their cost of living had risen compared to the month previous.

About half (49%) of people said they bought less food when shopping and 48% said they had to spend more than usual to get what they normally buy.

The vast majority of respondents have taken at least one action to save energy in the past year.

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the cost of living payments are “a vital step in the right direction for people on low incomes”.

But she added: “It’s not enough to put people back where they were before the price hikes.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said last week that geopolitical tensions, soaring energy costs and long-term strain on the nation’s finances from an aging population “add to a challenging for this government and future governments as they steer public finances through unavoidable future shocks”.

The OBR said: “Many threats remain, with rising inflation which could tip the economy into recession, continued uncertainty over our future trade relationship with the EU, a resurgence in Covid cases , a changing global climate and rising interest rates continue to weigh on the fiscal outlook.

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