The last month of the year is often one of the most expensive – and with Christmas fast approaching these are all the money changes that you need to know about.

It can be a stressful time if you are worried about how much cash you have in the bank, and with presents and parties incoming, this advice might be of help.

There are also a number of important announcements that shoppers should be looking out for to help them budget for the next few weeks.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will issue its annual Christmas bonus and there will be updates to interest rates and inflation rates over the last 12 months.

Pensioners will continue to receive up to £600 in support next month – and if you’re not sure if you’re eligible for it, there is a key date to note down in your diary.

Being aware of money changes this Christmas can really help get finances in order, and ensure you stick to a budget.

What money changes can we expect in December 2023?

DWP Christmas bonus

The DWP will soon start to pay £10 to people claiming certain benefits. You need to be in receipt of one of the following benefits in the ‘qualifying week’ – which is usually the first full week of December – to receive the bonus.

  • Adult Disability Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Disability Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
  • Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
  • Mobility Supplement
  • Pension Credit – the guarantee element
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
  • War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
  • War Widow’s Pension
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension.

You must also be present or ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the qualifying week.

£300 Cost of Living Payment deadline

Winter Fuel Payments will continue to be paid to eligible state pensioners in December, having started in November. The Winter Fuel Payment itself is worth up to £300, depending on your living arrangements and circumstances.

But the Government is then topping this up with an extra £300 pensioner cost of living payment – meaning some households will get up to £600 this winter. You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023/24 if you were born before September 25, 1957.

Most people who receive the following benefits will get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically:

  • State Pension
  • Pension Credit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Carers Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • awards from the War Pensions Scheme
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Industrial Death Benefit.

There will be some cases where you need to apply. Read more about the Winter Fuel Payment and if you need to physically apply for the cash here.

Cold Weather Payments

Cold Weather Payments are worth £25 and are awarded when the average temperature where you live is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.

Keep an eye out for this award if the temperature drops in December (as it has already been close to freezing at the end of this month.)

The scheme reopened on November 1 and will run until March 31 next year. You need to be living in England or Wales and claiming certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest to be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment.

If you live in Scotland, you might be entitled to an annual £50 Winter Heating Payment instead.

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