The Social Security Minister has revealed that a new Community Cost Bonus will be in place this autumn – but admitted that "consideration" is being given to fixing distribution issues in the current system which mean that a household of one person receives the same amount of money as a household of four.
Deputy Elaine Miller, the Minster for Social Security, told the Corporate Services Panel last Friday: "There will be a new Community Cost Bonus in place ready for applications in the autumn...that is something of a priority at the moment."
The Community Cost Bonus – formerly know as the Food Cost Bonus – is an annual payment to help households that are just above the Income Support level with the cost of GST on food.
The bonus was doubled from £258.25 to £516.50 in October 2022 as part of the the Government's 'mini-budget' to help islanders cope with rising prices.
Reform Jersey’s Deputy Lyndsey Feltham amendment to the mini-budget – to include all households where no member has had a tax liability of more than £2,735 for the previous year – was hoped to help 6,000 more homes access the Community Costs Bonus.
However, during last week's Scrutiny hearing, the Social Security Minister acknowledged that the take-up of the scheme was lower than expected.
To date, there have been 3,826 claims for Community Cost Bonus of an eligible total of 14,000. The Government had estimated that 7,000 islanders would apply for the scheme.
Pictured: Under the current Community Cost Bonus, a four person household receives the same amount as a single person.
Deputy Millar explained that the details of the autumn iteration of the Community Cost Bonus are still being worked out.
However, she expressed a desire to amend certain distribution issues present in the scheme's current iteration.
The Social Security Minister told the Scrutiny panel: "There is an obvious issue with it...a household of one person receives the same amount of money as a household of four people.
"So we need to give that some consideration, so it may be that the amount may change for a single person."
A household can claim the Community Cost Bonus when at least one adult member has been resident in Jersey for the last five years, the household has a combined tax liability of less than £2,735 for 2022, and no member of the household has been a recipient of income support during the seven days prior to the application.
You can find out more or apply for the bonus HERE.
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