Six direct payments Brits can get into their bank accounts to help with bills | The Sun

MILLIONS of households will want to make sure they are getting all the help they are entitled to as the cost of living soars.

The next few months are big for your finances, with energy bills set to rise and cost of living payments set to hit bank accounts for millions.

But there's plenty more help you can get too, ranging from bill discounts to help with food bills.

How much you can get depends on your circumstances.

Some payments are automatic and others you need to apply for.

Here we explain what help you could be entitled to and when, and what it could mean for your money.

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£400 energy bill discount

Over 29 million households are eligible for a £400 energy bill discount.

The discount was originally announced back in May by the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, but the money won't start to arrive until October.

The discount will be automatic and will be made up of six instalments, starting from October.

But it's up to energy firms how they give out the cash directly to their customers.

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For example, the country's biggest energy supplier, British Gas, has now revealed how exactly its customers will get the money.

EDF has also confirmed that customers who pay by direct debit will be refunded the cash after a successful bill payment is made.

But other energy companies are taking a different approach – you can read our guide to find out what your supplier is doing.

£650 cost of living payment

Around eight million people will receive a £650 cost of living paymenttargeted at the most vulnerable households.

Wannabe PM Rishi unveiled the giant support package earlier this year.

The payment has been split into two instalments of £326 and £324 and the vast majority of the eight million eligible should already have received their first portion.

But around one million people on Tax Credits who haven't already received it should get their first instalment in a few weeks time.

The government announced earlier this month those in receipt of this benefit will start receiving the first payment from September.

The second instalment for those on Tax Credits is due to be paid in the winter, although the government is yet to confirm a specific date.

You are entitled to the cost of living benefit if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based JSA
  • Income-related ESA
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits

If you are part of the group on Tax Credits, to get the first £326 payment, you must have been entitled, or later found to be entitled, between April 26 and May 25 this year to:

  • a tax credits payment
  • an annual award of at least £26 of Tax Credits

There are two types of Tax Credits – Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

If you receive both, you will only receive a £650 total payment for Child Tax Credits.

If you get Tax Credits from HMRC and a low income benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), you will get a cost of living payment from only the DWP.

One thing to bear in mind is that it is one payment per households.

This means if you have more than one person at your address who is receiving either Tax Credits or one of the above benefits, you won't get more cash.

£150 disability cost of living payment

Six million disabled Brits will receive £150 this September to help with the rising cost of livng.

The money is to help cover the costs of running energy intensive equipment at home.

For many disability benefit recipients who receive means tested benefits, the £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.

The automatic payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

£300 Pensioner cost of living payment

In November or December this year, a £300 one-off Pensioner cost of living payment will be dished out.

It will be given to those who already get the winter fuel payment – which is worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.

The extra £300 will be paid directly and is on top of this support which means some eligible households will see their payments double this winter.

You can check out if you are eligible for the Winter Fuel payment in this handy explainer.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund programme aims to help those struggling with their finances and can't cover the essentials.

The Scheme is part of the Government's Household Support Fund which was first introduced in October 2021.

It has recently been extended until September 30, 2022 as millions of people face the ongoing cost of living crisis.

In May of this year Chancellor Rishi Sunak pumped an extra £500million into the scheme. In total, £1.5 billion has been made available.

The money is being dispersed between local councils to help those who need it locally – some councils are giving

Each council determines how to use its budget to help local residents, with many previously dishing out supermarket and fuel vouchers or one-off cash payments.

Not all residents can receive the support due to eligibility requirements, so it's best to check your local council's website.

£150 from £144 million discretionary fund

In February, the government announced it would be offering a council tax rebate to combat rising energy bills.

The £150 payment is for people whose homes fall under council tax bands A-D and local councils are responsible for deciding who is eligible and making payments.

The government set a deadline of September 30 for all payments to be made, and payments started back in April.

Many people who pay their council tax bill by direct debit have already had the cash paid directly into their bank accounts.

But thousands who don't must apply for the £150 from their local authority.

You can find your local authority by using the government's handy tool.

Some households are yet to receive payments, but councils have given updates on when residents in those areas should expect to receive them.

Is there other energy bill help?

While you can't do anything to escape rising energy prices – energy suppliers do offer support for those who are struggling to pay their bills.

For example, there are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling, like the British Gas hardship fund which can lend you up to £1,500 free cash towards bills.

Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:

  • Bulb energy fund
  • EDF's energy customer support fund
  • E.on's energy fund
  • Npower's energy fund
  • Ovo's debt and energy assistance
  • Scottish Power's hardship fund

There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment metre.

If you don't know who your supplier is, you can find out here.

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Anyone getting the state pension should also get winter fuel payments worth hundreds. 

Winter fuel payments are a tax-free payment that comes from the government each year and is worth between £100 and £300.

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