By Colin O'Carroll, ONSIDE Project

Every household in Northern Ireland is entitled to receive the cost of living payments announced by the UK government.

This was originally £400 per household to be paid through your electricity supplier but has now been increased to £600 per household.

Because of the lack of an Assembly and Executive at Stormont, a method to get the payment to consumers has not been decided on and it will not be made before January.

The UK government says it is now looking at a type of voucher system to get the payments to households that can also be ‘cashed-in’ to help with other household expenses.

The delay in payments has caused hardship for many vulnerable individuals and families who were hoping for help through Christmas and winter, so below is a table of planned government assistance.

New Cost of Living Payments for people on disability benefits

People on eligible ‘extra costs’ disability benefits will receive a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment over the next financial year.

This is on top of the Cost of Living Payments for households on means tested benefits and pensioner households, if eligible.

This includes everyone on:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

Additional Cost of Living Payments to households on benefits

Households on eligible benefits will receive additional Cost of Living Payments of up to £900 over the next financial year.

This includes eligible households receiving the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

These will be made in more than one payment.

New Cost of Living Payments for pensioners

Pensioner households will receive an additional £300 Cost of Living Payment over the next financial year. This is in addition to the means tested benefit and disability payments, if eligible.

All these payments will be tax-free and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

All benefits will also rise in line with inflation.

The Department of Work and Pensions will provide further detail on timing of all these payments and eligibility dates later.

Useful information sites

There are a multitude of organisations out there that can provide help and information about your situation. If you are unsure about any of the payments due to you, please get in touch. They are there to help.

Here are some useful sites in finding out what benefits and assistance may be available to you:

Help with rising costs of living for disabled people

Turn2us Benefits Calculator

Energy Efficiency and advice

Northern Ireland Housing Executive energy advisers

[email protected]

National Energy Action

NEA is the national fuel poverty charity. Its mission is to make sure everyone in Northern Ireland is warm and safe at home. 

Consumer Council

The Consumer Council’s Energy Price Comparison Tool

In addition, there are a number of government support schemes and independent advice agencies that can provide you with additional help. You'll find this information on NI Direct's website.