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New payment for people on low incomes self-isolating in highest risk areas

27 August 2020

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

From 1 September, payments of up to £182 will to made to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their contacts.

The new scheme will start first 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, tailored to the individual length of their isolation period.

It 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. It will be available to people currently receiving either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.

There will be a “rapid review” of the scheme in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham 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 quickly applied in other areas of high COVID-19 incidence.

The new payment will not reduce any other benefits that people receive.

This payment equates to:

  • £130 if an individual has tested positive for coronavirus and has to self-isolate for 10 days (from the point they first developed symptoms).
  • £182 if a member of an individual’s household has tested positive for coronavirus and they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days (from the point the member of their household first developed symptoms).
  • £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 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

Note: New regulations have also been issued to extend eligibility for statutory sick pay (SSP) to people where they are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus prior to being admitted to hospital for planned or elective surgery.

From 26 August 2020, the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations 2020 provide that, in England, Scotland and Wales only, someone is entitled to SSP if they:

  • have been notified that they are to undergo a surgical or other hospital procedure;
  • have been advised to stay at home for a period of up to 14 days prior to being admitted to hospital for that procedure; and
  • stay at home pursuant to that advice.

For more information see New payment for people self-isolating in highest risk areas available from gov.uk.