MILLIONS of households have started seeing the second half of the Â£650 cost of living payment hit their accounts.
The majority of the eight million receiving the Â£324 payment started receiving it yesterday, November 8, and all payments should be made by November 23.
Those on tax credits are due to get their second instalment between November 23 and November 30.
It follows the first Â£326 payment, which was made to around eight million struggling households over the summer.
The payments are made automatically to those getting certain benefits including Universal Credit.
But some people could miss out on the cash.
Half a million people missed out already because of a loophole, figures from October revealed.
And unfortunately the same could happen with the second half of the payment.
You need to be getting one of these payments in the qualifying period, which is August 26 to September 25.
But crucially you need to have got a Universal Credit payment of at least a penny during this time.
Unfortunately there are some instances where the benefit can reduce to zero in an assessment period.
You might still have an ongoing claim for the benefit, but for one month you get nothing.
If this happens at the same time as the cost of living payment qualifying period, then you won’t get the cash.
Below, we explain five ways that you could end up not getting the payment.
You got a bonus
When you’re in work and on Universal Credit your payments are reduced the more you earn.
This is called the taper rate and it means for every Â£1 you earn over a certain amount your Universal Credit payment is reduced by 55p.
You may have a certain amount you can earn first before the taper rate applies -this is known as the work allowance.
Otherwise it applies to all your earnings.
If you get a bonus payment this can push up your earnings to an amount where your Universal Credit is reduced to zero for the month.
Unfortunately, if this happens at the same time as the qualifying period for the cost of living payment, it could mean you don’t get the cash.
You worked overtime
The same might apply if you have done overtime in the period from August 26 to September 25.
If you earn more than usual from working more hours, this could also reduce your Universal Credit to zero.
This means you could miss out on the first half of the cost of living cash worth Â£324.
You got a pay rise
Another reason you could earn more and therefore see your UC payment reduced to zero is if you got a pay rise.
While this is good news as you’ll earn more, it could push some to get zero UC and means they could just miss out on the extra cash.
You get paid every four weeks
A quirk of Universal Credit is that people who get paid every four weeks sometimes find two pay days fall in one monthly assessment period.
That means your UC could fall to zero in that month.
Unfortunately, if it’s the same month as the cost of living payment qualifying period, so August 26 to September 25, you could miss out.
Another reason you could lose the cash is if you’ve been sanctioned.
You’ll receive a sanction if you fail to keep up with your work search commitments, like attending interviews or meeting up with your work coach.
This can see your Universal Credit payment reduced. In the worst case scenario it can leave you with no payment at all.
An award of zero in the qualifying period due to sanctions means you won’t get the Â£324 cost of living payment.
If you miss out on the cash because of sanctions, you could try appealing it if you think it’s unfair – read our guide on how to do that.
There is an exception to the rule and some people who get a nil award WILL get the cost of living cash.
The government guidance says that if it’s reduced to zero because you have deductions like rent or money you owe, then you will still get the payment.
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