MILLIONS of people on Universal Credit and benefits face a longer than expected wait for their £650 cost of living payment.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced low income households would get the help as part of a bumper £15billion emergency package of support for spiralling bills.
More than eight million households will receive the help, which will be paid in two instalments.
The first chunk will be paid from July 14, with the government stating the second would be dished out at some point in the Autumn.
But latest plans indicate this last payment could be dished out much closer to the end of the year than anticipated.
In the small print of a Bill due to pass the commons today, the last instalment could be paid as late as December, according to the Mirror.
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That will come as a big blow to households facing a mega £830 energy bill hike in October.
Ofgem's boss warned the price cap will jump from £1,971 to roughly £2,800 on average at this point.
It means households might not get the vital cost of living help in time for when bills are set to soar.
Those claiming tax credits will also see a delay to their £650 cost of living payments.
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As many as 1.5million people claim tax credits – and although an exact date for payments has not been set, they'll get the help in autumn and winter.
People may be receiving tax credits alongside other benefits that qualify for the cost of living payment.
So the £650 payment to those on tax credits only will be dished out at a later date to avoid any double payments being made.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: "The £650 Cost of Living Payment for those on means-tested benefits is deliberately being delivered in two payments to help support budgeting.
"This also ensures any newly eligible claimants can be paid the second instalment, even if they weren’t paid the first instalment
"It also reflects other support being paid, such as the £400 for energy bills in October, and means that all recipients of the second instalment receive this closer to the coldest months of the year."
Extra cost of living help you can get NOW
If you're struggling to get by now, there's help you can get while you wait for your cost of living payments.
Council tax bill
Some households on low incomes could be eligible for a discount on their council tax bill.
You could get your bill reduced to zero, and with the average bill for a band D home at £1,898, that could be a significant saving.
Find out what you could get in our guide.
Energy bill grants and vouchers
Several suppliers offer energy bill help through hardship funds and give out grants worth as much as £750 – you don't have to repay the cash.
British Gas just added and extra £2millionto its Energy Trust fund to help struggling customers.
Contact your supplier directly to see what they offer, what the eligibility requirements are, and how much you can get.
If you're on a prepayment meter you might be able to get a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier.
The Household Support Fund, which helps families with the rising cost of living, has been extended.
This help could include cash grants to pay bills or cover food costs – the help will depend on where you live.
For example, residents in Blackpool can get as much as £300, depending on their circumstances.
To find out what support is available in your area, contact your local council.
Councils also have welfare assistance schemes which help low income families with necessities like food and other bills.
£150 council tax rebate
Four in five households will be getting £150 payment to help cover the cost of rising energy bills.
The cash is being dished out by councils as a one-off payment rather than a discount on your usual council tax bill.
You'll get it if you're in council tax bands A-D, though a discretionary fund is also available for households not eligible and will give out £150 payments too.
You don't have to pay this cash back but you might have to apply to get it if your local authority does not have direct debit or bank details for you on record.
Here's everything you need to know about the scheme.
Rent and housing help
Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a little-known pot of money handed out by councils to cover shortfalls in rent and help with deposits.
The financial support is available to those getting benefits for housing in England and Wales.
Each local authority dishes out DHP cash to those in need on a case-by-case basis, and the amounts available can vary.
So you'll need to speak to your council to see what's available where you are.
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