MILLIONS should take note of the eight big money changes taking place in December.
From direct payments worth up to £300 directly into bank accounts and energy bill help for all UK households – we’ve listed how your finances could be affected this month.
Do bear in mind that you may not be eligible for some of the support listed below – but everyone will be affected by at least one of next month’s money changes.
Millions will be due direct cash support but new forecasts and rising interest rates could give our finances a further hit as the cost of living continues to rise.
December 5 – Universal Credit and benefits Christmas bonus paid
Millions on Universal Credit and benefits will receive a Christmas bonus.
The tax-free £10 payment will be made during the qualifying week between 5 and 11 December, according to the DWP
Eligible households don’t need to apply for the bonus as it will be paid automatically – but they will need to meet the eligibility criteria.
And as the £10 is a bonus, it won’t need to be repaid either, nor will it affect any other benefits you receive.
To qualify for the payment you must be present or ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the first full week of December between the 5 and 11.
Households will also need to claim at least one of the 20 qualifying benefits within the same period.
The bonus isn’t available to those who receive Universal Credit only but someone on Universal Credit who also receives one of the qualifying benefits will receive it.
The following 20 benefits make you eligible for the tax-free £10 Christmas bonus payment.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Disability Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit – the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
December 14 – November’s consumer price inflation figures
The Office for National Statistics will release the rate of inflation for the previous month.
It will come after the UK’s rate of inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.
The high rate of inflation last month was driven by soaring gas and electricity prices.
Inflation is now at its highest since 1982, the ONS said.
Inflation is a measure of how the price of goods and services have changed over the past year.
When it goes up it means prices on everyday items, essentials, fuel and bills are higher – which means budgets are being squeezed.
Prices on everyday items such as food and petrol will remain high for now.
And double figure inflation figures like this mean that households are paying more when it comes to food, energy, household bills and fuel.
December 15 – Bank of England could raise interest rates
And it’s expected that interest rates could rise even further in December.
Lifting interest rates is meant to encourage people to save, rather than spend, which in theory should help bring rampant inflation under control.
The central bank has already hiked the base rate eight times this year.
But savers are benefiting and banks are battling it out to offer customers market-leading savings rates.
The Bank also used last month’s announcement as an opportunity to revise its predictions on how much interest rates will rise in future, and it has brought some relief to mortgage bills.
After the Mini-Budget it had warned that they would hit 6% next year, which caused mortgage lenders to hike fixed bills.
However, the Bank has since said that rates would hit a maximum of 4.6% – allowing lenders to slowly cut the interest rates on some of their mortgage deals.
December 19 – Deadline to backdate pension credit claims for cost of living payment
Most people eligible to receive the Government’s £650 cost of living payment received the second chunk worth £324 this month.
To get the second payment, you will need to have been in receipt of any of one of the eligible benefits, including pension credit, for any day in the period August 26 to September 25, 2022.
As pension credit claims can be backdated by three months, you can still make a claim for the benefit and get the cost of living cash too.
The last date for applying in order to qualify for the £324 payment is December 19.
Pension credit is designed to boost your income if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income.
The benefit could be worth more than £3,300 a year.
We’ve explained how you can apply for pension credit.
December 23 – Benefit and pension payments moved for some
That’s because Boxing Day counts as a bank holiday, and the 27th is a “substituted” bank holiday day for Christmas Day and payments aren’t made on these days.
The same goes for if you usually receive your benefits or state pension payment on the 2nd of each month as January 2, 2023, is a bank holiday.
If you usually get paid on this day, you’ll get it on December 30, 2022.
Plus, if you usually get paid on the 24th or 25th of each month you should receive your payment on December 23 as the 24th and 25th fall on the weekend this year.
If a payment date lands on the weekend it’s usually made the first working day before then.
You don’t need to do anything if your usual date for getting the state pension falls on a bank holiday.
But you should factor any early payments into your budget and make sure it lasts you long enough to take you through to the next month.
If your payment date falls on a normal date you’ll get your money as usual.
December – £400 energy bill discount
Millions of households started receiving a £400 energy bill discount from October 1.
The payment will be dished out by your energy supplier and will be split across six discounts between October and March next year.
Households will receive a £66 energy bill discount in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.
We’ve listed how the leading energy suppliers plan to pay households.
If you’re on a credit meter or smart prepayment meter the discount will come off your bills or be credited to your account automatically.
Those on traditional prepayment meters will receive the discount through a voucher.
Check with your supplier to confirm how you’ll receive the cash.
For more information on eligibility, important dates, or anything else make sure to check out our other articles.
December – £300 pensioner cost of living payment
Payments of a £300 one-off “Pensioner Cost of Living Payment” to eight million households began on November 23.
To qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, the following must apply:
- You were born on or before 25 September 1956
- You lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 – this is called the “qualifying week”.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said most payments are made automatically in November or December, and should be received by January 13, 2023.
December – Up to £75 in cold weather payments available
When temperatures plummet those in low-income households can get a £25 payment.
The cold weather payments are made in locations where residents experience continuous below-zero weather.
The payment is made automatically, including to those on Universal Credit, for each seven-day period of low temperatures from today to March 31.
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