January 2024 dates for benefits, pensions and cost of living payments

Despite inflation beginning to ease, many households continue to struggle

Albert Toth,Joe Sommerlad
Monday 01 January 2024 05:59
Martin Lewis announces next £300 DWP cost of living handout date

As inflation eases once more to 3.9 percent, many continue to struggle amid the ongoing cost of living crisis. Despite the figure inching nearer the Bank of England’s 2 percent target, household bills, grocery costs and mortages continue to remain high.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows that as many as 2m households in the UK have found themselves forced to unplug their fridge or freezer to keep bills low, warning of “frightening” levels of hardship. Meanwhile, they say 2.8m people had run into debt to pay for food, and 1 in 6 say they have been forced to use a “warm room”.

Here is a brief overview of the state financial support available to low-income families this January and the dates on which benefits recipients can expect their money to be paid out.

Will my benefits be paid before the new year?

If any of your usual payments are due on New Year’s Day (January 1), Saturday 30, or Sunday 31 December, you should receive them on Friday 29 December instead.

Benefits going out as usual

The usual state support in the shape of benefits and pensions payments will be going out as normal in January, with no bank holidays scheduled to confuse delivery dates, except for New Year's Day. These are:

  • Universal Credit
  • State pension
  • Pension credit
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Employment support allowance
  • Income support
  • Jobseeker’s allowance

For more information on how and when state benefits are paid, please visit the government’s website.

When to expect the next cost of living payment

The final cost of living payment of £299 will be paid between February 6, 2024 and February 22, 2024. People receiving certain benefits or tax credits are eligible for the cost of living payment. These include: Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance , Employment support allowance, Income support, Pension credit, Child tax credit, and Working tax credit.

This payment follows several others made throughout 2023:

  • £301 – First cost of living payment – issued between 25 April and 17 May (or 2 to 9 May for people on tax credits but no other low-income benefits)
  • £150 – Disability payment – issued between 20 June and 4 July
  • £300 – Second cost of living payment – issued between 31 October and 19 November for most people
  • £300 – Pensioner payment – issued November 2023

If you believe you are eligible for these payments, but have not received them, you should contact the DWP.

Warm Home Discount

First introduced in 2011, this scheme delivers a £150 cut to domestic electricity and gas bills for qualifying recipients. A one-off discount applied automatically to your bill between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024, you are eligible for the scheme if receive the guarantee credit element of pension credit or if you are on a low income and have high energy costs.

Energy Price Cap forecast to fall

Ofgem has announced that the EPC has been set at £1,923 for the final quarter of this year (or £1,949 for those on pre-payment plans) and will then rise slightly to £1,928 (or £1,960 for pre-payment) for the first quarter of 2024.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight foresee a further fall by the time the next EPC is announced for next year’s second quarter, at which point it predicts the typical annual bill will be at £1,816.46.

The recent decline in prices is reflective of recent drops in wholesale energy costs – the amount energy firms pay for their electricity and gas before supplying it to households – and, although it is a significant slide from the eye-watering rates of the last two years, the figure still remains almost £1,000 a year above pre-pandemic levels.

Are benefits and pensions set to increase in 2024?

Benefits and state pension are set to increase in April 2024.

In his autumn statement, Jeremy Hunt that benefits are going to be increased by the September rate of inflation of 6.7 percent. He also announced that state pension will be increased by 8.5 percent around the same time.

However, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has warned that failure to raise the benefits cap will push more people beyond its threshold, meaning a real-terms cut for many.

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