Extra cost of living payments of £900 have been proposed to ease the pressures on millions of struggling households this winter. The idea forms part of a new action plan of priorities to be considered ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement later this month.

The measures would see Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance claimants, as well as carers, receive a similar £900 to those on means-tested benefits. They have been put forward as the DWP and HMRC are currently paying out the second instalment of a £900 package to eligible households receiving any of the following: income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

In contrast, people on disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance had a one-off sum of £150 paid between June 20 and July 4. Other benefits have not been included in the cost of living package at all.


National Energy Action (NEA) says urgent action is still needed to help vulnerable and low-income households and has put together a list of priorities for the Government in the hope some could be considered for implementation this winter to help people combat the energy crisis. Even with inflation now falling to 4.6 per cent and a lower price cap, gas and electricity bills are set to be high because of the absence of the monthly rebate that was in place from last October to this March and gave a total discount of £400 to millions.

The NEA report said: "While the provision of cost-of-living income supplements will help many struggling households in the remainder of the financial year (2023-24), key gaps remain, and we believe further urgent actions are needed to support some of the most vulnerable people who are at most risk of needless death and cold-related morbidity this winter."

It urges the Government to consider more cost of living payments. The fuel poverty charity explained: "Another option, albeit not targeted at providing direct energy relief, is to provide additional cost of living payments for the most vulnerable households who have missed out on support (low-income carers, households on bereavement allowance) and provide further support for low-income households with disabilities and medical dependencies.

"Carers have consistently missed out on support despite often being in financially difficult situations due to their reduced earning potential and diminished opportunities for higher level learning and training. NEA would like to see all carers receive the full £900 cost of living support, regardless of whether they also receive means-tested benefits.

"The additional costs of this would be tempered by the number of carers that are in receipt of means-tested benefits. Similarly, households in receipt of bereavement allowance have likely had recent shocks to their income but may not be in the means-tested social security system. They have also been largely missed out when it comes to additional support."

The report adds: "Households with disabilities and medical conditions are very vulnerable to the impacts of the energy crisis. They often need to use much more energy than the typical household due to needing to spend more time at home, needing to live in a warmer home to stay healthy, or needing to power high-demand medical equipment (such as dialysis machines). NEA believes that because of this, households in receipt of DLA and PIP should receive the full £900 cost of living payment." This would cost in the region of £4.5 billion, it says.

Funding for such measures could come from Government underspending on the Energy Bills Support Scheme, Energy Price Guarantee and Warm Home Discount, it suggests. The NEA said: "Given the pressures on the economy, the fiscal situation is still extremely tight, and the prevailing economic view in Government continues to be that there is a need to maintain a sense of frugality when it comes to new spending. NEA recognises these constraints, particularly when it comes to providing further universal energy-related support like last winter.

"However, NEA notes that there have been significant underspends on related energy schemes which could be deployed to provide targeted energy bill support through existing mechanisms this winter to support low-income and vulnerable households." It adds that with Ofgem's price cap now below the Government's Energy Price Guarantee, this has led to an additional £10billion-plus in financial headroom.

The DWP previously said it was reviewing its existing cost of living payments to see if more were needed. Guy Opperman, Minister for Employment at the DWP, said the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor on November 22 is expected to be the time when news on any more cost of living support would be announced.