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Many households on benefits like Universal Credit will not receive £650 in government energy bill help because of a gap in the rules.

Millions of households who claim certain benefits will start to see the £650 cost of living payment arrive in their bank accounts over the next few weeks.

The new support was announced by Rishi Sunak last month to help struggling families cope with the fastest rising standard of living in 40 years.

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But if you have a joint claim to benefits with a partner then you only get one payment of £650 – not two.

Government guidelines say: “If you have a joint claim with a partner, you will get one payment of £650 for both of you, paid in two lump sums from July 2022 and in autumn 2022, if eligible.”

The news is a blow to households who may have been expecting to get £1,300, not £650.

When will the £650 payment arrive in my bank account?

The £650 is being split up into two payments, with the first £325 cash sum arriving for most eligible households from July.

The second £325 payment is then expected to drop into bank accounts in autumn, although there is no set date.

Those who claim tax credits will receive their first payment slightly later, with the first £325 not expected to be processed until the autumn.

The second £325 payment will then be sent in winter but again, there is no set date yet.

You will need to have been entitled to one of the qualifying benefits on May 25, 2022, to get the first payment.

However, the deadline for who is eligible for the second payment has also not yet been set.

This means thousands of Brits who qualify for one of those benefits could potentially start a claim and be eligible for the second payment.

What benefits do I need to claim to get the £650?

The £650 payment is only being awarded to those who claim means-tested benefits. This includes:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Pension Credit

  • Universal Credit

  • Working Tax Credit

Do I need to apply for the £650?

The payment is being issued automatically to eligible households.

These payments are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you get.

I don’t claim these benefits – what help can I get?

There are two other one-off payments being made to vulnerable households.

This includes £150 for those who claim certain disability benefits and £300 for pensioners in receipt of Winter Fuel Payments.

Every home in England, Scotland and Wales will also get £400 off their energy bills, spread out over six months from October.

This is in replacement of the £200 “loan-not-loan” that had originally been announced last year by the Chancellor.

Critics said this support doesn’t go far enough to help those worst-hit by the cost of living crisis, as the £200 had to be repaid at a rate of £40 per year from 2023.

This scheme will no longer happen now, as it has been replaced by the £400 discount off your energy bills, with this money no longer needing to be paid back.

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