Self-isolation payments to come into effect from 1 September 2020 for those in receipt of universal credit or working tax credit. People with coronavirus and their contacts are to be paid to self-isolate, the government has announced.
With the Royal Society having warned that the current rate of statutory sick pay creates a financial disincentive for workers to self-isolate, and the TUC having called for the government to do more to protect the incomes of workers who are subject to local coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns, the Department of Health has announced today that:
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 on Tuesday 1 September .
Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works, 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.
To be eligible, individuals must:
- be employed or self-employed, and currently in receipt of universal credit or working tax credit;
- 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 their local authority; be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result.
- The self-isolation payment will not reduce any other benefits that the person receives and will equate 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.
The government adds that:
‘Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.
The local authority can also check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm the individual has been asked to self-isolate, if the individual is unable to provide this information. The local authority will put in place checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.
For more information, see New payment for people self-isolating in highest risk areas from gov.uk