Does everyone on Universal Credit get the £650 cost of living payment?

More than eight million low-income households will receive the one-off payment

Young woman relaxing at home with a tablet
(Image credit: Future)

As the first cost of living payments start to hit bank accounts, you may be wondering ‘does everyone on Universal Credit get the £650 cost of living payment’?

Back in May, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a cost of living support package (opens in new tab) to help people deal with rising prices.

As part of that package, more than eight million low income households, who are more vulnerable to rising prices, will receive a one-off payment of £650 to put towards their bills. If you’re wondering when you’ll get the £650 cost of living payment (opens in new tab), the good news is that payments have started and if you haven’t received it yet, you should get it before 31 July. 

You won’t get the money all in one go - however. It will be split into two separate instalments, one of £326 and a second, in the autumn, of £324. 

All households can also expect a £400 energy rebate (opens in new tab) later in the year.  

Does everyone on Universal Credit get the £650 cost of living payment? 

If you were getting Universal Credit on 25 May 2022, then you should get the first instalment of the cost of living payment, which is £326. 

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, to be eligible for the first cost of living payment of £326, 'you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022'.

You don’t need to apply for it and it will automatically be paid in the same way you receive your benefit.. 

You will also be entitled to it if you claim other means-tested benefits. Phil Agulnik, (opens in new tab) Director at entitledto (opens in new tab), says: “The simple message is that, anyone who qualifies for means-tested benefits is entitled to an extra cost of living payment. That’s anyone, including people who are only entitled to a few pence of benefit.”

Even if you don’t already claim one of the means-tested benefits to qualify for this cost of living payment, it’s worthwhile checking if you are eligible and submitting your application as soon as possible. 

If you submitted a successful application after 25 May 2022, you should qualify for the second instalment in the autumn. The government has not yet confirmed the qualifying dates in order to get the second payment of £324. As the qualifying dates haven’t been confirmed, if you think you could be eligible for a means-tested benefit, you should make your application as soon as possible so you qualify for the second instalment of the cost of living payment if your application is successful.

 Who pays the cost of living payment? 

The cost of living payment will come from the government’s Department of Work and Pensions. You should receive the payment in the same way you receive your benefit but it will be made as a separate payment rather than being included with your benefit. In your bank, building society, credit union account, or on your Payment Exemption Service voucher receipt it will be labelled as ‘DWP Cost of Living’.

The payment is tax-free and won’t count towards the benefit cap. 

Sarah Handley
Sarah Handley

Sarah is an experienced journalist and editor with more than 10 years of experience in the Homes industry, working across brands such as Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes. After segueing into the world of personal finance, acting as launch editor of, Sarah is now an Editor in Future’s Wealth division with a focus on property-related finance and household bills. She is passionate about helping people cut through confusing jargon to make the right financial decisions when getting on the property ladder and turning a house into a home.