Hundreds of thousands of households are to get a cash boost in the next 10 days to help with the high cost of living. HMRC is to pay £300 directly into people’s bank accounts automatically, without any need for them to apply or get in touch.
The sum is being paid to around 840,000 households who receive Working Tax Credits and/or Child Tax Credits. It will drop into the same account where your tax credits are regularly paid.
The payment will arrive between November 10 and 19 and is part of a Government cost of living package that saw £301 given to a similar group of low-income families between May 2 and 9. A third instalment of £299 will be paid out by spring 2024, taking the total to £900.
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Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary, said: “The £300 cost of living payment will deliver further financial support to eligible tax credits customers across the UK. Another payment will be made by spring 2024 to those entitled to receive it.
“HMRC customers will receive the payment automatically, with no action required from them, to make this as simple as possible. If customers have not received the Cost of Living Payment from HMRC between the published payment dates, but believe they are eligible, they should wait until after November 20 to contact us. This is to allow time for their bank, building society or credit union to process the payment.”
To qualify, you must have received a payment of tax credits in respect of any day in the period August 18 to September 17, or later be paid for any day in that same timeframe. You won’t be entitled to the cash if your tax credits entitlement for the financial year is below £26.
Government guidance says that if you’re getting both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, you will receive the £300 payment for your Child Tax Credit claim only, not one amount for each claim.
And if you receive tax credits from HMRC along with an eligible low-income benefit from DWP, you won’t get £300 from each Government department. You will usually be paid just once and that will come from DWP only.
It’s also worth noting that your payment might come later – for example, if you have changed the account your tax credits are paid into. In this case, the £300 will bounce back and will need to be re-sent once HMRC and DWP have your new account details.
The payment is tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and won’t have any impact on existing benefit awards.
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The Government has also warned people to be on their guard against scams asking them to provide personal or financial details such as bank account and debit card numbers to claim the money. There’s no need to apply or contact anyone in order to receive the £300 payment, so If someone contacts you about the payment saying they are from HMRC or DWP, it may be an attempt at fraud.
HMRC pointed out that receiving a previous cost of living payment does not guarantee customers will get a future one. People must meet the individual eligibility criteria for each payment, it said.
In all, there are seven different means-tested benefits that are eligible for the cost of living support, provided that people have received one of them on the qualifying dates. These are:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Those on all the other benefits aside from tax credits will be receiving their £300 from DWP during a longer payment window of October 31 to November 19.
The payment from HMRC to tax credits customers will appear on bank statements as HMRC COLS, referencing ‘cost of living support’. Those receiving the payment from DWP will see the payment reference as their National Insurance number followed by DWP COL.
On November 7, the Government announced that more than seven million households across the UK on DWP benefits had been paid their £300 cost of living payment, amounting to £2.2 billion paid out in just eight days.
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