Date Published: 13.11.2023
Status: Past
Type: Co-ordination of Social Security
Outcome: No further action

Cost of Living Payment

Summary of Information

The IMA received a complaint in relation to the Cost of Living payments. These payments are part of a wider package of Government measures to support recipients of certain benefits and tax credits throughout the UK.  The complainant is an EU Citizen residing in the UK and is in receipt of a benefit in respect of their disability that is paid by an EU authority and did not receive a Cost of Living payment.  The IMA had concerns that some citizens protected under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements may not have been considered for the Cost of Living payment.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

The IMA liaised the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”), to explore the matter and to determine if citizens falling within scope of the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements and who are in receipt of equivalent benefits from other Member States should be eligible for the Cost of Living Payments.

DWP and HMRC have confirmed that the Cost of Living payments are not in scope of the EU Social Security Coordination Regulations as the purpose of the Cost of Living payment is supporting vulnerable individuals through cost-of-living pressures. Both the Means-tested Cost of Living Payments and Disability Cost of Living Payments are standalone payments granted to those in receipt of certain other qualifying benefits on a qualifying date. The member state benefit received by the complainant is not a qualifying benefit to receive the Cost of Living Payment.

It is not a requirement that an applicant must be a British national to qualify for the Cost of Living payment, it is a requirement that regardless of nationality the applicant is eligible and in receipt of one of the benefits listed in the legislation.

The IMA have carefully considered the response from DWP and conclude that No Further Action is the most appropriate course of action.

Summary of Decision

On the basis of the information available at this point in time, the IMA has determined that it does not have reasonable grounds to believe that an inquiry into this issue may identify general or systemic failings in the implementation or application of Part II of the WA.  Furthermore, the IMA does not consider that it would be proportionate and / or reasonable to continue to explore this issue further by way of Inquiry at this time.

However, should the IMA receive any further information or complaints about this or related issues, these will be considered on their merits and in line with IMA’s internal processes.

Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.