People on low incomes who have to self-isolate in areas where there are high rates of coronavirus will be able to claim a payment from the government.
The new self-isolation support payments will initially be rolled out in pilot areas in North West England first, but may be rolled out further to other high-risk locations, the Health Secretary has said.
How much will I be paid?
As of Tuesday 1 September, those who claim Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit, who are required to self-isolate and are unable to work from home, will be able to claim the self-isolation payment support.
The payment will first be trialed in parts in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham, which are all under local lockdowns.
Eligible workers who test positive for coronavirus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation.
Other members of their household, who under current rules have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182, which is equal to £13 per day.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) also added that non-household contacts who are advised to self-isolate through the NHS Test and Trace system will also be entitled to a maximum payment of £182.
The amount they receive will be dependent on the length of their isolation period.
The payment will not reduce any other benefits that a person may already receive, the DHSC confirmed.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the payment, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- have tested positive for coronavirus, or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate
- have agreed to comply with the self-isolation guidance and provided their contact details to the relevant local authority
- be employed or self-employed
- be unable to work from home and be losing income as a result
- be currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit
How will payments be made?
Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible person providing all of the necessary evidence.
To receive the payment, people will be asked to provide the self-isolation notification from the NHS Test and Trace system, along with a bank statement.
Those who are employed will be asked to show proof of employment, while those who work for themselves will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact.
Checks will be undertaken on all applicants to ensure they are self-isolating, the DHSC confirmed.
Local authorities will also be able to check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm an individual has been asked to self-isolate if an individual is unable to provide this information, and will put checks in place to prevent fraud.
Will the payments be rolled out to other areas?
While the support payments are to initially be trialled in parts of North West England, the scheme will be quickly applied in other areas where coronavirus cases are prevalent if the approach is successful, the DHSC said.
Payments are first being introduced in areas which have the “most acute need”, Matt Hancock said: “This is where we’re doing it in the first instance, firstly to make sure that the systems work, that we can get the money fast to people, because obviously if you’re asking somebody to self-isolate for a fortnight we want to try to get the money to them at the start of that rather than afterwards.”
“We’ll see how that goes and we’ll get the feedback, with the potential to roll it out further.”