HMRC will give hundreds of thousands of households a £300 tax-free payment from today

Person looks happy at calculator

HMRC is beginning paying the £299 cost of living payments from today

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 16/02/2024

- 00:01

Millions of UK households have already received the £299 payment

Around 700,000 households will receive £299 from today, to help with the cost of living.

The payment is the third instalment of the £900 cost of living payment, intended to help people on means-tested benefits.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin issuing these payments to eligible tax credit recipients between today and February 16.

More than seven million eligible UK households have already received the payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is distributing the money between February 6 and 22.

Person in supermarket holds basket

The £299 payment is part of the £900 cost of living payment for means-tested benefit recipients


Those eligible via tax credits should see it on their bank statement with the code “HMRC COLS” as the payment reference.

The payment reference is the National Insurance number and “DWP COL” for those getting the payment via the DWP, such as eligible Universal Credit and Pension Credit recipients.

The cost of living payments are tax-free.

They don’t count towards the benefit cap and they won’t affect existing benefit awards.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC director general for customer services, said: “The £299 cost of living payment will deliver further financial support to eligible tax credits customers across the UK.

“To make things as simple as possible, the payment is made automatically with no action required from HMRC’s customers.”

HMRC is directing people who haven’t received the payment as they expected to wait until February 23 before they get in touch.

This allows time for their bank, building society or credit union to process the payment.

Person looks at energy bills statement and smart meter

The cost of living payment may help towards higher energy bills


The payment is made separately from the benefit payment.

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners on a low income could still qualify for the cost of living payment, despite the eligibility period having now ended.

This is due to Pension Credit backdating rules, which allow a claim to be backdated by up to three months.

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