More help to get us through the cost-of-living crisis

The government revealed more help for those of us on certain benefits as the cost of living keeps rising

As the cost of living crisis rumbles on, the government has said it will be giving us more help to get through it.

There were a few bits of good news in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November. As well as the Energy Price Guarantee, those of us on means-tested benefits will be in line for at least another £900. We’ll get more if we’re disabled or a pensioner.

We don’t know how or when these payments will be made yet. But when there’s an update we’ll share it on the news section of our website.

And the Household Support Fund will be extended. The fund provides a pot of cash that councils can give out to us when we’re struggling to pay for essentials.

We can apply to our council if we think the fund might be able to help us over the winter months. 

Rising prices

As inflation keeps rising, our benefits just weren’t keeping up. But it was announced that they’ll rise by 10.1 per cent – the same as the inflation rate in September.

We’ll see this rise in our payments from April 2023.

Rents are often the biggest part of our household spend and many of us are fearing big rises. The government has now said that social housing rents won’t rise by more than seven per cent. It’s still a big increase, but less than some of us were thinking.

The minimum wage will also rise by the same amount – from £9.50 an hour to £10.42 if we’re over 23.

(The Real Living Wage is different. Some employers offer this higher rate of £10.90 outside London and £11.95 in London. Look out for the logo when job-hunting).

Of course, earning a bit more can affect our UC if we claim it because of the way the taper rate takes money off our benefits. A simple way to find out if we’ll be better or worse off is to use a calculator like this on the Quids in! website.

Benefits payment dates

And if we were worried about reaching the benefits cap, that’s being raised too. It’ll go up in line with inflation. This could give us a bit of breathing space if we were getting close.

If we were due to get our benefits on one of the Christmas holiday dates (26th-28th December) we should get it on 23rd December. And if we were due to be paid on 1st or 2nd January, we should get it on 30th December. Some dates may vary depending on where in the country we are and what we claim. We can check the government website for more details.

And there’s a Christmas bonus of £10 that’ll be paid to those of us on certain benefits. We don’t have to apply for it – if we qualify we’ll get the payment automatically.

Image: Alaur Rahman / Pexels

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