MILLIONS will see a £324 cost of living payment hit their bank accounts from today, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed.

Almost one in four families across the UK will receive the boost from the Government this month, with the first batch of payments sent out today.

More than eight million households in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who claimed qualifying means-tested benefits during the eligibility period will be automatically paid £324 this month, as part of £1200 worth of direct help for households.

The payments, starting today from the Department for Work and Pensions, are made directly into eligible recipients’ bank accounts, with no need for people to apply or do anything to receive it.

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The payment reference on DWP recipients’ bank accounts will be their national insurance number, followed by “DWP COL”. For HMRC recipients the payment reference will be “HMRC COLS”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We understand that people are struggling and that is why we’ve consistently acted to ensure millions of low-income families are supported. We will continue to act with compassion as we navigate challenging global economic circumstances.

“As part of a wider £37 billion package of support, this latest £324 payment will help the most vulnerable people in our society who are worrying about their finances through the winter months.”

Those eligible to receive the second cost of living payment from today include people on Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Pension Credit.

To be eligible, claimants must have been claiming and entitled to a payment between 26 August and 25 September, with the exception of pensioner households, who may be able to have a new Pension Credit claim backdated.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt added: “Prices are rising across the world as we manage the aftershock of Covid-19 and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“We recognise that families back home are struggling, which is why we’ve taken decisive action to hold down energy bills this winter, and provided hundreds of pounds of cash support for each vulnerable household.

“As part of that support, over eight million vulnerable households - almost a quarter of families in the UK - will automatically receive a second cost of living payment worth £324 in their bank account from today.

“And while we can’t completely protect people from rising prices, my priority at the upcoming autumn statement will be to protect the poorest in society as we take the tough decisions necessary to fix our public finances.”