Low income workers who are self-isolating will be able to apply for a one off £500 support payment until March next year, the Health Secretary confirmed today.
Sajid Javid said the Government will give “practical and financial support” to those who are self-isolating due to Covid, including parents whose children have been sent home from school.
Under the terms of the one-off payment, people who have been told to self-isolate but can’t work from home – and aren’t eligible for sick pay – will get £500 to help cover their living costs.
Mr Javid confirmed today: “As well as maintaining the current legal requirements for positive cases and unvaccinated contacts to self-isolate, the Government will continue to offer practical and financial support to those who are eligible and require assistance to self-isolate.
“The Government will review the future of these regulations as well as this support by the end of March 2022.”
You might be able to get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re isolating due to the pandemic depending on your employer.
SSP is £96.35 per week and it is paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
However, this doesn’t apply to self-employed and many zero-hour contract workers.
If you don’t qualify for sick pay, you may be eligible for a one-off payment of £500 through the Coronavirus Self-Isolation Payment.
You must be self-isolating, or caring for a child who has been told to stay home, and be unable to work from home.
To get the Coronavirus Self-Isolation Payment you also have to be in receipt of certain benefits such as Universal Credit or on a low income.
We’ve broken this down below.
Who is eligible for a £500 Covid support payment?
The £500 sum is known as the Test and Trace Support Payment. If you’ve been told to self-isolate and are on a low income or do not qualify for sick pay, you may be able to apply for the allowance.
The government says: “You may be eligible if you are employed or self-employed, cannot work from home, and will lose income as a result.
“You can only apply if you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app, or you’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate.”
It is a legal requirement to self-isolate, if you’ve been told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace app.
The full criteria is as follows:
- You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- You’ve responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your close recent contacts
- You’re employed or self-employed
- You’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
- You’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.
If you’re not on one of these benefits, you might still be able to apply for a £500 discretionary payment if:
- You meet all the other criteria listed above
- You’re on a low income
- You will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating
Your council will tell you what counts as low income and financial hardship, and whether you’re eligible.
What are the rules for parents and guardians?
Parents and guardians of a child who has been told to self-isolate might be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if all the following apply:
- You’re the parent or guardian of a child in your household who is self-isolating, and you need to take time off work to care for them
- Your child is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting
- You’re unable to work from home and will lose income because you have to care for your child while they are self-isolating
- You meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment
How to apply for the £500 support payment
If you believe you’re eligible, and you live in England, you can apply for the £500 payment through your local council.
You can search for the contact details for your local authority via the Gov.uk website.
If you are claiming help because your child has been told to self-isolate, will need written proof, most likely from their school.