Who will get the £500 payment from the Government?

IF you're struggling with the cost of living, the government's pandemic payouts could still come in handy.

Here's how you can claim a £500 cheque if you're entitled.

Who is entitled to a £500 government payout?

First things first, the Test and Trace support payment is only available in England.

And it's different to the £500 energy payout currently being considered by the business secretary.

The COVID cash is available for people on low incomes who have to self-isolate.

You can claim the one-off payment if you've tested positive and been told to self-isolate – or if you've been told to do so as a close contact of someone else who tested positive.

You must be unable to work from home and able to prove you're losing out on income when you self-isolate.

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Lastly, you don't need to be claiming benefits to qualify for the support payment.

However, if you're not claiming Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit, you'll need to find another way of proving that you're on a low income.

Parents can also apply for help if they have to stay off work to look after a self-isolating child.

For parents to be eligible, the child must:

  • be 15 or under, or 25 or under if they have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC)
  • live with you
  • normally be at school or in childcare
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

How can I claim the payment?

English local councils are in charge of dishing out the cash, so you'll need to visit the government website and put your postcode in at the bottom.

You'll then be directed to your council's own test and trace support page.

You can also use the NHS COVID-19 app when you're pinged to self-isolate.

If you're applying manually, the evidence you need to show will probably vary depending on which council you're applying to.

But documents it'll be worth having to hand include a payslip or a self-employed tax return, a recent bank statement and your NHS Test and Trace account ID.

Devolved authorities in other UK regions are in charge of their own pandemic pay-outs.

Here's what is available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What other government support is available?

If you're not eligible for a test and trace support payment, there are some other ways to claim essential money as the cost of living bites.

There's statutory sick pay (SSP), under which you can claim £96.35 per week if you're forced to self-isolatw for more than 4 days.

And rule changes made last month mean you won't need a sick note to claim SSP or benefits until 28 days after you fall ill.

There's also Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you're under the state pension age and have a disability or health condition affecting how much you can work.

Claimants have to show proof they've been told to isolate – and apply for the benefit online.

Universal Credit is another way you can top up your finances while unable to work – find out if you're eligible.

And councils are providing £500m via the Household Support Fund (HSF) to struggling families in the form of supermarket vouchers and cash payments.

Keep up to date with the latest local HSF schemes including in Reigate and Banstead, Elmbridge in Surrey and Barnsley.

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