CASH-STRAPPED Brits have fewer Covid financial help schemes to apply for from today, but there is still support available.
Families can still apply for tax relief, test and trace payments and a new Covid fund to help pay for essentials.
Furlough, the self-employment grant and the Covid Local Support Grant ended yesterday.
Meanwhile, the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit, which was introduced to help people struggling in the pandemic, will be cut this month.
Politicians and charities have called for the uplift to be extended, but the government has held fast in its refusal to continue with the extra payment any longer.
Test and Trace Support Payment
If you are told to self-isolate because you have coronavirus, or have come into contact with someone who has, you can apply for a £500 one-off payment.
People on a low income who can not work from home are eligible for the grant, which doesn’t have to be paid back.
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You will need to provide some financial information and evidence that you or your child have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
This scheme applies to people in England, but there are similar initiatives in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Working from home tax relief
If you still have to work from home due to coronavirus you can apply for tax relief.
You can make a claim if you work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week.
Employees who choose to work from home, rather than being made to, aren’t eligible for the tax relief.
But if you’ve come to a flexible working arrangement with your employer due to the pandemic, you could still be able to make a claim.
You can claim tax relief on £6 a week – this was raised in April 2020 due to the pandemic, and was previously £4 a week.
You’ll get tax relief based on the rate at which you pay tax.
For example, if you pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim relief of £6 a week, you would get £1.20 a week.
The total you can get in a year is £125.
Claims can also be made for the previous tax year, also worth up to £125, so anyone who’s eligible for both years and hasn’t yet claimed could get £250.
HMRC will, in fact, accept backdated claims for up to four years, which means you could claim up to £500.
Household Support Fund
Councils will be given a share of a £500million grant to hand out to residents who are struggling this winter.
It replaces the Covid Local Support Grant, which gave out free cash to families struggling to pay for food, energy bills and other essentials.
A Sun investigation previously found that you could claim as much as £1,500 under the Covid Local Support Grant scheme.
Each council will decide how much cash families in their area could get and how they should apply for the help.
If information about the scheme is not yet listed on your local authority’s website, it’s best to ring or email for more information.
Universal credit and other benefits
We’ve outlined the Covid-specific help you can get above, but there are other sources of help available too.
You should also consider what other benefits and grants you could be eligible for if you’re struggling financially.
Universal Credit claimants can get a standard allowance of up to £509.91, depending on individual circumstances. You’ll get more if you have children.
You might also be able to get help paying energy bills this winter, which will come in handy as prices are set to rise.
The Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payments are designed to help families cover heating costs over the winter months.
Check Citizens Advice’s benefits calculator to make sure you’re getting all the help you are eligible for.
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