Millions to get the latest cost of living payments starting today

Recipients have been told to watch out for scammers

Millions of people will start receiving up to £600 from today in additional costs for life support.

More than 11.6 million retirees will receive winter fuel payments over the next two months to help with their energy bills.

This year's payments have been increased by an additional £300 per household in retirement living costs. Most payments will be automatic so retirees will receive money in their bank accounts. Anyone who has not received their payment by January 13 should contact the government's Winter Fuel Payment Center.

A million people with tax credits can also expect to see a second living expenses payment arrive in their bank account over the next week.

Secretary for work and pensions Mel Stride said ministers "want to do everything we can to support retirees, who are often the most vulnerable to higher costs".

"As we deal with the impact of Putin's illegal war on Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic, we will continue to support the most vulnerable, with further living expenses coming next year," he added.

"These extra payments are just one part of a broader package of support we are providing to help the bill rise, including the largest increase in state pensions in history."

Recipients have been warned to watch out for scammers who might exploit this situation.

Anyone who contacts people directly about paying for living expenses could become a fraud trying to steal personal details, tax authorities have warned.

The latest payments are in addition to the £400 distributed to each household, and a guaranteed energy price, which limits the price that suppliers can charge.

People who do not receive state benefits or pensions need to file a claim to receive their payments.

The money will appear on the bank statement with a payment reference starting with the customer's National Insurance number followed by "DWP WFP" for people in the UK, or "DFC WFP" for people in Northern Ireland.

About one million people who receive the tax credit will receive their £324 second living expenses assistance payment, also aimed at helping with higher energy bills.

It will be paid automatically between today and next Wednesday as part of the government's £37 billion living package.

The £324 payment, the final part of the £650 announced by Rishi Sunak earlier this year, has been paid to most Universal Credit claimants since 8 November.

More than seven million payments of £324 have been made this month to low-income households as part of this government's cost of living support.

This includes retirees who receive retirement credit.

The average pension credit award is worth more than £3,500 a year, and for retirees who may be eligible but have not yet applied, there is still time to do so and be eligible for an additional £324 payment.

Angela MacDonald from HMRC said: “This second living expenses payment will provide further financial support to eligible claimants for the tax credit across the UK.

"£324 will be paid automatically into a bank account, so people don't have to do anything to receive this extra help."

Further living expenses to be paid next year was announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his fall statement last week.

Payments will include an additional £300 for retirees, £900 for households with ability-tested benefits and £150 for disability benefits.

It was also confirmed in a fall statement that retirees would be heading for a 10.1 per cent increase to the state pension from next April, after Mr Hunt confirmed that the keys to three pensions were protected.

The new full state pension is currently £185.15 per week, so a 10.1 per cent increase would push that figure to £203.85.

For those on the full state basic pension, who reached state retirement age before April 2016, the increase means a weekly rise from £141.85 to £156.20.

The triple lock is usually used to calculate increases in state pensions, but has been temporarily suspended due to the distortionary impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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