Cost of Living Payment: Who is eligible for the £650?

Phoebe, one of the MEA champion bloggers discusses the Cost of Living Payment in a recent blog and highlights that not everyone seems to understand who is eligible to receive the payment and those who will not receive it.

“The £650 for people on benefits does not include disabled people who are on Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA). This however isn’t being made immediately clear, and I have spent a large portion of today trying to stop the spread of misinformation on Twitter, with many people confidently stating that everyone on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be eligible for the £650, which is not the case. Only those on Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (IR ESA) will receive the £650.

It would be a mistake to assume that the government will help the most vulnerable first, despite them saying that they will help the most vulnerable first, but I can understand why it’s nice to think so. With this new information, you might be hoping that once people realise that people on Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA) are being excluded, they’ll make a fuss and it will be corrected? Again, I can understand why it’s nice to think that will be the case. Disabled people on ESA have been here before.”

Phoebe's blog is entitled: Rishi Sunak’s Cost of Living Crisis Measures – Disabled People on ESA Are Losing Out, Again.

MEA Comments

Ella Smith, Welfare Benefits Adviser provides the following information in relation to Phoebe's blog:

  • People on Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance will not be transferred to UC, only those on Income Related Employment and Support Allowance will be put on the new system. This is exactly because Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit that replaces the old, means-tested legacy benefits like Income Related Employment and Support Allowance. As Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance is contributions-based and not means-tested, it sits outside the Universal Credit scope.
  •  This is important when it comes to the cost-of-living payments because someone could be living in a household with a very high income or a lot of capital and still be able to receive Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA). This is not the case with means-tested benefits because the household circumstances are considered. 
  • If someone on Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA) has no other income or capital coming into the household, it is very likely that they can also claim a means-tested benefit alongside their Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Claiming a means-tested benefit is the only way to qualify for the £650 cost-of-living payment because this payment is targeted at LOW INCOME households. As discussed, someone on Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CB ESA) may not be living in a low-income household but everyone on means-tested benefits will be.
  • Regarding the information discussed about the Warm Home Discount, this has only been reported in the Mirror newspaper as a potential change. No legislation or further details have been announced as yet by the government. The likelihood of this happening in the current climate is still uncertain but people who claim means-tested benefits in addition to disability payments such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) still seem highly likely to be able to receive the Warm Home Discount.  The Mirror article is here, with no real details being given. 

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Ella Smith 
Welfare Benefits Adviser 

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