There are fears thousands of people in Scotland could miss out on a “lifeline” cost of living payment this autumn.
The UK Government is set to make payments of up to £300 for those in receipt of benefits such as Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Pension Credit.
The cash is set to be issued between October 31 and November 19.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said while more than 834,000 Scots could be entitled to the payment, thousands may miss out due to error or what it described are “arbitrary” cut-off dates.
People will only be eligible for the payments if they claimed a qualifying benefit between August 18 and September 17.
CAS said its analysis suggests around 12,000 people start on Universal Credit in Scotland alone each month, meaning those who started in October or after the September 17 cut-off would miss out.
The charity said it has seen pensioners, disabled people and those in work miss out on the payments before.
It said in one case a disabled woman was refused her cost-of-living payment and told she was not eligible despite being in receipt of Employment Support Allowance.
CAS is encouraging people who were in receipt of qualifying benefits between August 18 to September 17 to expect the payment and report missing payments to the Department of Work and Pensions from November 20.
CAS social justice spokesperson Erica Young said: “These payments represent an absolute lifeline for people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and they will be welcome support to those who receive them.
“However, across the Citizens Advice network we have seen cases in the past where people have missed these payments because of errors and oversights.
“Others will miss out because of the arbitrary dates that cut off people’s entitlement. It doesn’t seem fair that someone who has needed extra support from our social security system this month won’t qualify for these payments as we head into the winter. For Universal Credit alone that could be as many as 12,000 people.
“From next week, people should be expecting to review their payment, if they haven’t received it by November 19 we would encourage them to report the missing payment to the DWP.
“There is a wider issue here about the value of social security itself, these payments are welcome but ultimately a sticking plaster when Universal Credit isn’t enough for people to live on in the first place.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “Our cost of living payments are delivering quick and much-needed support directly into the pockets of millions of low-income households, with extra help for pensioners and disabled people.
“Many payments, including cost of living payments, have been staggered throughout the year, with different qualifying periods to reduce the risk of claimants missing out altogether.
“They are part of a wider support package worth an average £3,300 per household, which includes raising benefits by more than 10% this year.”
People can check www.moneymap.scot to see where they could be entitled to increase their income or cut their costs.
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