Rishi Sunak 'taking money out of our pensions' says economist
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Last month, Mr Sunak outlined his plan to roll out the £650 in two instalments to help households in receipt of Universal Credit with rising inflation and energy bills. However, those in receipt of certain legacy benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are unable to receive this support. The DWP guidance states: “You will not get a payment if you get New Style Employment (ESA) and Support Allowance, contributory Employment and Support Allowance, or New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), unless you get Universal Credit.”
However, those who claim either JSA or ESA and Universal Credit will be able to get Rishi Sunak’s £650 payment.
This is because this cost of living support is designed as a means-tested benefit payment.
Means-tested means the Government takes into account a claimant’s savings or personal income, which could affect what payments they are entitled to.
Those in receipt of Universal Credit and either JSA or ESA will expect to receive their first instalment of £326 sometime between July 14, 2022 and the end of July.
It should be noted that other legacy benefit claimants, such as those who receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit, will be able to get the extra £650 without receiving Universal Credit.
However, those who claim either ESA or JSA by itself will not be able to get this cost of living assistance.
In its guidance, the DWP added: “You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits.
“You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits.
“The payments will be made separately from your benefit or tax credits.
“This payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.”
The issue over certain legacy benefit claimants being left out of the cost of living support has been debated in Westminster.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour MP Alex Sobel asked the Government: “On what basis did the Department make the decision to exclude people in the support group for new style Employment and Support Allowance from the £650 cost of living payment?”
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In response, Conservative MP David Rutley said: “The Government is committed to managing the public finances in a responsible way by targeting the £650 cost of living payment support at the eight million low income means-tested households where it is most needed.
“Contributory based Employment and Support Allowance is not a means-tested benefit.
“In addition to the means-tested cost of living payment, six million disabled people who receive eligible non-means tested disability benefits, including Personal Independence Payments, will receive a one-off disability Cost of Living Payment of £150.”
As well as this, Mr Rutley cited the various other support payments the Government has introduced to support households outside of the £650 cost of living support.
This includes the £400 non-repayable grant to assist families with their energy bills as costs are predicted to soar to £3,000 by January of this year.
Furthermore, he highlighted the increase to Winter Fuel Payment and extra £500million which was assigned to the Household Support Fund.
As well as this, Mr Rutley referred to the pending rise to the National Insurance threshold and the readily available council tax rebates as a means of mitigating the cost of living crisis.
Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.
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