The Test and Trace Support Payment has been introduced in response to feedback from local authorities and directors of public health that some residents are struggling to self-isolate due to financial constraints.
The £500 lump sum payout is intended to help ensure people on low incomes are able to stay at home if they are asked to do so by the NHS Test and Trace. It will be administered by local councils.
Semantha Neal, Chair of Communities and Volunteer Cell at the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum, said: “It is important that people are made aware of the new payment and that they are not worrying about missing out financially if they cannot work.
“The message is clear self-isolation helps prevent family friends and the community from contracting coronavirus as well as helping to protect the health and care system. If you have to self-isolate, meet the eligible criteria and cannot work from home – support is available through your local district council.”
A claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required, meaning people can receive multiple payments as long as all the eligibility criteria has been met and evidence provide.
The scheme started today (Monday) and will run until 31 January next year
Local authorities are working hard to put the necessary processes in place to support this scheme by 12 October, and anyone asked to self-isolate between 28 September and 12 October will be eligible to receive a backdated payment, says the LRF.
Those eligible for the financial support must be employed or self-employed, must not be able to work from home, and must be in receipt of benefits including any of the following: Universal Credit, Working Tax credit, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, pension credit or housing benefit.
A discretional fund will also be available for individuals who do not qualify for the Test and Trace Support Payment but require financial support to self-isolate.
Whilst the new support payment is aimed at helping people on low income self-isolate, the government has warned those who chose to ignore the rules will face significant fines.
New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
Lincolnshire County Council has created a page to direct people to the right district council, which links directly to the forms on their websites. https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-services/community-help-volunteering/8?documentId=413&categoryId=20126
The NHS Test and Trace service will provide evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate. This evidence can be shared with an employer or education provider. Get an isolation note if you need evidence that you’ve been told to self-isolate.
Further details can be found on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-package-to-support-and-enforce-self-isolation