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London families to take lion’s share of cost-of-living help

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An estimated 1.2 million families in London will be eligible for the £650 means-tested benefit cost of living payment, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Work and Pensions has revealed how many people in each part of the country will receive the £650 cost-of-living payment, with the first half to be paid from 14 July.

Of the 8.2 million families eligible for the cash payment, 1.2 million live in London, representing 15% of the total.

The North West follows with 1.084m eligible (13%).

At the other end of the scale, Northern Ireland will see 309,000 benefit (3%). Meanwhile 426,000 Welsh families will receive the payment, with 689,000 in Scotland.

Last month the government announced that all households would receive a £400 discount on energy bills in October, while vulnerable households would receive at least £1,200 to help with the rising cost of living.

This is made up from the direct payment of £650 for over eight million households on benefits, a separate £300 payment for pensioners, and a £150 payment for disabled people, as well as the £400 energy discount and the previously announced £150 council tax rebate.

The £650 payment is tax-free, won’t count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

In order to be eligible, households must be in receipt of any of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Pension Credit.

For the first ‘half’ instalment of £326 which will be paid from 14 July, people needed to be in receipt of one of these benefits, or have begun a claim which is later successful, as of 25 May 2022.

The second instalment of £324 will be sent to qualifying low income households from the Autumn, with eligibility criteria set out soon.

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