How government payments for self-isolating in high-risk local lockdown areas will work

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A person wearing a protective face mask walks past a Job Centre Plus office, amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain, August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A person wearing a protective face mask walks past a Job Centre Plus office in London. (Reuters)

Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that people having to self-isolate in local lockdown areas will soon be able to claim money from the government.

With some parts of England already facing tougher restrictions due to higher cases of coronavirus, the scheme will ensure people on low incomes are compensated for not being able to work.

Hancock said the extra financial support was “set at the level of statutory sick pay”.

The scheme is due to be introduced on Tuesday, 1 September – here’s what else you need to know.

Women walk in a socially distanced one-way system, implemented due to COVID-19, inside a shopping centre in Oldham, Greater Manchester, northwest England on August 20, 2020. - Oldham, as of Thursday, has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 infections, and could be subject to a imposed Local Lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
Oldham, where there is a local lockdown in place, is one of the areas where the self-isolation payment scheme will be trialled. (Getty)

Who is entitled to make a claim?

The government has said that employed and self-employed people on either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit who test positive for coronavirus and are forced to self-isolate in local lockdown areas – and cannot work from home – can make a claim.

People living in the same household can also make the claim under the same circumstances – even if they have not tested positive for coronavirus.

Contacts not living in the same household but advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment under the same circumstances.

Checks will be made by the government to ensure all the criteria is met before payments are made, including proof of employment or evidence of trading income.

How much can you claim?

Those who test positive will be entitled to £130 for their 10-day isolation period. People living in the same household who are entitled to the benefit are entitled to a £182, that covers the current 14-day self-isolation period.

Not-household contacts will also be entitled to claim up to £182, tailored to the individual length of the isolation period.

Where will the scheme launch?

The scheme will not immediately be rolled out to all areas. Initially, the government have said that a trial will first take place in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works. If the scheme proves to be successful, it will quickly be rolled out to other areas where cases of coronavirus have risen sharply.

A screen on a bus stop displaying a NHS notice on test and trace on Oxford Street, London, as non-essential shops in England open their doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. Picture date: Monday June 15, 2020.
A screen on a bus stop displaying a NHS notice on test and trace on Oxford Street, London. (PA)

How can you claim?

Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible person providing all the necessary evidence. To receive the money, people 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 if someone has been asked to self-isolate if they are unable to provide the information.

The local authority will put in place checks to prevent fraud.

Will you lose other benefits?

The government has confirmed that the payment will not reduce any other benefits you may receive. The self-isolation compensation scheme will be paid on top of all other payments.

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