Why haven’t I got the cost of living payment yet?

  • Post last modified:February 7, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

‘Why haven’t I got the cost of living payment yet’ is a question on millions of people’s minds at present. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been rolling the payments out since 6 February. However, not everyone is entitled to them. Moreover, the department has not said just why it pays some people immediately, while making others wait. So, here’s the Canary‘s breakdown of the situation.

DWP payments: a brief history

As the Canary has documented, the DWP’s cost of living payments have been controversial. There have been two rounds of them. The most recent one saw the department give people £900, split into three payments. It paid the first one in April 2023, the second payment of £300 in October/November, and the third payment of £299 will be made from 6 February.

People have argued that firstly the money doesn’t even cover the real-terms cuts the government has made to benefits. Secondly, the payments haven’t reflected the rising price of everything (inflation).

However, the DWP has continued with the payments, anyway – with the one that is arriving from 6 February being the last.

Why haven’t I got the cost of living payment yet?

Let’s cut to the chase.

The DWP says it has started paying people the cost of living payment from 6 February. However, it has given a date of 22 February as the final day on which people may receive them. If you are entitled to it, it will be paid – but the DWP has never made clear just how it works out the order in which it pays people.

If you still haven’t received the payment, then you can report it as missing here.

However, there has been controversy over just who is entitled to the cost of living payment. The DWP has repeatedly claimed that “most people on DWP benefits” will get the payments. However, this is not accurate.

Not entitled? You’re one of at least 1.6 million.

Many Universal Credit claimants will get the money. However, if you only claim one of the following benefits, you will not get the cost of living payment:

But how many people is this in total? In April 2023, the Canary worked out this was at least 1.6 million people. So, if you’re on any of these benefits and wondering ‘why haven’t I got the cost of living payment yet?’ then this might be your answer.

So, what did the government do for some of the 1.6 million people it didn’t support? Well, it gave them a cost of living payments worth £150. This was if they were claiming certain benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The DWP made these payments in 2022 and 2023. However, since then it has not given chronically ill and disabled people any more support – particularly those not entitled to the main cost of living payment.

Not enough in reality

This has been devastating for many. Chronically ill and disabled people face far higher costs than non-disabled people – on average a staggering £1,122 per household, per month. Plus, inflation (how much the price of things we buy rises by) has outstripped benefit increase – meaning they’ve actually been real-terms cuts.

As the Canary previously reported, between April 2021 and September 2023:

  • Prices in general have risen 36% more than benefits have.
  • Food prices in particular have risen 107% more than benefits have.
  • Energy prices have risen 471% more than benefits have.

So, in reality the main payments were a drop in the ocean for many chronically ill and disabled people – let alone the £150. However, they were at least something – hence a petition is calling on the government to reinstate them.

Reinstate the disability cost of living payment

Tom Howard is a disability rights campaigner. In December 2023, he started a petition calling on the government to reinstate the £150 cost of living payment. The petition states:

The rising cost of living, especially the rise in energy bills, disproportionately affects disabled people. For example, someone with a chronic lung condition may require a set temperature in their home. This may mean that they have their heating on more than a comparable household. Furthermore, some may require specialist and/or medical equipment to be plugged in and active throughout the day. This, in turn, can lead to higher energy usage and therefore higher energy bills. This point is even more pertinent as energy bills are set to increase further at the start of January 2024.

The petition calls on the government to:

to acknowledge the plight of disabled people and reinstate the Disability Cost of Living Payment. The payment should also be reviewed and increased to effectively support disabled people in the UK. It is a matter of basic human rights and social justice.

You can sign the petition here.

So, if you’re wondering ‘why haven’t I got the cost of living payment yet’, then either hold tight – or sign the petition.

Featured image via the Canary

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