October 2020 - Local authorities in England & Self-Isolation Payments

As the new legal duty to self-isolate comes into force, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said that local authorities in England will have discretion to award £500 lump sum self-isolation payments to those who do not receive qualifying benefits.

Confirming that people in England are now required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, the DHSC restates that, for those unable to work from home, a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment will be awarded by local authorities if they receive qualifying benefits (Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit).

However, the DHSC adds that local councils will also have discretion to make payments to those who do not receive qualifying benefits, but are on a low income and could suffer financial hardship as a result of not being able to work.

The payments were introduced to help ensure that people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and to encourage more people to get tested. To be eligible, an individual must:

Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

Be employed or self-employed

Be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and

Be currently receiving a qualifying benefit (listed above) or on a low income and liable to suffer hardship

The scheme will run until 31 January 2021. People will need to make an online application (or a telephone application if they are digitally excluded) and submit as supporting evidence:

A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number)

A bank statement and

Proof of employment, or, if they are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that their business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.