New payment introduced for people self-isolating in highest-risk areas
The Health Secretary has announced that, from 1 September, people on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidences of Covid-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme.
The scheme will be trialled in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to test if the process works. Eligible individuals who test positive with the virus and will receive £130 for the ten-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.
Other individuals within non-household contacts who are advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment of up to £182, the total amount will be tailored to the individual length of their isolation period.
The scheme is designed 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 as living in the same household as, or coming into contact with, someone who has tested positive.
To be eligible for the funding, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- 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.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated: “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. ”
It is hoped that payment will be made within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.
The Government has also reported that local authorities will be able to check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm whether individuals have been asked to self-isolate should individuals be unable to provide this information themselves.
Local authorities will have to put in place checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.
After the test period, there will be a review of the scheme in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to assess the performance to consider how far it has helped reduce transmission of the virus in these areas.
If the approach is successful, the scheme will be quickly applied in other areas of high Covid-19 incidence.
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