THOUSANDS of applications have been made this year for a government bonus to help Islanders cover the cost of GST on food after the eligibility criteria was extended.

Almost 4,000 submissions have been made to the Community Costs Bonus, an annual payment designed to support households which are just above the income support threshold.

The bonus was doubled this year from the previous figure of £258.25 to help Islanders with the rising cost of living, while eligibility was extended to include households who paid less than £2,735 tax in 2021.

Up to 14,000 Islanders are now able to apply to the scheme – previously known as the Food Cost Bonus – with 3,850 applications made so far for the 2022 payment of £516.50.

This is a marked increase from 2021, when 931 households benefited from the bonus – out of an eligible 7,000.

Social Security Minister Elaine Millar said: ‘This year, as part of the government’s mini-budget, we expanded the Community Costs Bonus in two ways to help Islanders with the rising cost of living.

‘We have been proactively promoting this benefit through an extensive marketing campaign to make sure all of those householders that can benefit from this payment are aware and applying.’ She added: ‘I am delighted that we have been able to support many more'.

Islanders compared to last year and our aim is to support even more.’ Islanders can apply for the payment by visiting the website or by calling Customer and Local Services on 444444.