New payment for people self-isolating in highest risk areas

People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new government payment scheme.

  • Government to implement new payment for people on low incomes in areas with high rates of COVID-19, who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home
  • Payments of up to £182 to be made to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their contacts
  • Scheme to start first in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham

People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme starting from Tuesday 1st September 2020, the Health Secretary has announced.

Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham, eligible individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation. Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.

Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment of up to £182.

It is to support people who are unable to work from home while self-isolating, either after testing positive, or after being identified by NHS Test and Trace and will be available to people currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

The British public have already sacrificed a great deal to help slow the spread of the virus. Self-isolating if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have come into contact with someone who has, remains vital to keeping on top of local outbreaks.

This new payment scheme will help people on low incomes and who are unable to work from home to continue playing their part in the national fight against this virus.

Payments will be provided within 48 hours of providing the necessary evidence – to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.

The local authority can check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm the individual has been asked to self-isolate. The local authority will put in place checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.

There will be a rapid review of the scheme to assess the performance consider how effectively vulnerable people have been reached, and consider how far it has helped reduce transmission of the virus in these areas. If the approach is successful, the scheme will be applied in other areas of high COVID-19 incidence.

Background

This payment equates to:

  • £130 if an individual has tested positive for coronavirus and has to self-isolate for 10 days
  • £182 if a member of an individual’s household has tested positive for coronavirus and they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days
  • £13 per day (up to a maximum of £182) if an individual is identified as a non-household contact of another person who has tested positive for coronavirus and is asked to self-isolate up until 14 days after they were most recently in contact with the person who tested positive

To be eligible for the funding, individuals must:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate
  • have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the local authority
  • be employed or self-employed:
    • employed people will be asked to show proof of employment
    • self-employed 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
  • be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit

PAYadvice 28/8/2020

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