April is upon us – and it’s officially spring, which will (hopefully) translate into some warmer weather.
The clocks have just changed, too, ushering in lighter evenings after plenty of dark winter nights.
April also brings with it changes relating to cost of living support – including a rise in benefit payments, the start of a new Cost of Living Payment, and the end of several winter support schemes.
If you’re not sure what’s to come, here’s a summary of the changes to expect in April.
And where to find out more about each change…
What support schemes will have ended by April 2023?
A number of schemes designed to help with the cost of energy bills will come to an end as of March 2023.
Energy Bills Support Scheme – a £400 discount on energy bills, which took the form of six monthly payments of £66/£67 starting in October 2022 and ending in March 2023. It was automatically applied for most households, though some people in specific living situations who have yet to receive it can still apply for it here.
Winter Fuel Payment – this payment is usually applied automatically to those eligible for it (people born before September 26, 1956) in either November or December, though eligible people who have not received it have until March 31 this year to make a claim.
Warm Home Discount – this one-off £150 discount on winter electricity bills for those eligible (people in England and Wales who are on low incomes or get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit) was paid directly to the supplier between October 2022 and March 2023.
Cold Weather Payment – this scheme paid eligible people £25 per seven-day period of ‘very cold weather’ from November 1, 2022 until March 31, 2023.
For more, here’s Metro.co.uk’s guide to the schemes ending in March 2023.
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What support is arriving (and rising) in April 2023?
The good news is that most benefits are due to rise by 10.1% from April, in line with inflation.
This includes Universal Credit, the Benefit Cap, Carer’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Pension Credit, among many others. Find all of the weekly rate rises here.
The £301 Cost of Living Payment is also en route from April, as the government has said the spring support will arrive automatically to eligible benefit recipients between April 25 and May 17 (for most people).
Sadly, though, it’s not all good news – as plenty of bills are set to rise from April too, including council tax, water bills, and many phone/TV/broadband payments. Even the cost of prescriptions is set to go up.
Many may also be wondering about a potential rise in energy bills from April, as the aforementioned Energy Bills Support Scheme discount vanishes from March – but the price of a ‘typical’ yearly bill remains at £2,500 until June 2023 as per the government’s Energy Price Guarantee.
One can only hope there’ll be less need to put the central heating on as spring heats up…
Are there any benefit payment changes in April 2023?
If you’re a recipient of benefits from the DWP or tax credits from HMRC, there are also a few date changes to be aware of in April.
Typically, benefits are paid on a set schedule, and you’ll likely be aware of your usual payment date(s) – though if said date falls on a weekend or bank holiday, gov.uk says you’ll usually be paid the working day beforehand.
There are several bank holidays in or around April: Friday, April 7 (Good Friday), Monday, April 10 (Easter Monday) and Monday, May 1 (Early May Bank Holiday).
So, if you’re expecting a benefit payment from the DWP between April 7 and 10, it’ll likely arrive the day before on Thursday, April 6. This applies to Child Benefit due on April 10, too, as well as tax credits.
If you’re expecting a benefit payment on May 1, it should arrive on Friday, April 28. Again, this also applies to Child Benefit and tax credits.
Find out more about Easter benefit payment dates here, or visit gov.uk for more information on your specific benefit.
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