New support package for people facing hardship due to self-isolation.
East Devon residents on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace will be able to access a payment of £500 each time they are required to self-isolate.
Recognising that self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19, this new Test and Trace Support payment will ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worrying about their finances.
East Devon District Council is administering the scheme in East Devon on behalf of Government. Eligible people who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments, providing they meet the criteria and apply online at eastdevon.gov.uk/test-trace-payment
Cllr Jack Rowland, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Finance, said:
This financial support comes as the government places a legal requirement on people to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace and introduces tougher fines for breaking the rules.
Many people are following the rules around self-isolation, but these steps will make sure more do and help ensure the public do not unknowingly spread the virus.
For people who have to self-isolate and who meet the criteria, then the £500 will assist where either their employer does not pay their normal wage or if a self-employed person suffers a loss of earnings. The funding provided by government is welcomed and hopefully is sufficient to meet the number of valid claims during the period 28 September 2020 to 31 January 2021.
As a minimum, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve 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.
Applicants will need to provide evidence of the above, as well as being in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
For people who do not receive one of these benefits but do meet all other criteria, they may be eligible under the discretionary scheme. Read the full criteria online.
The Test and Trace support is designed to ensure people self-isolate in line with new laws, which make it an offence not to self-isolate if instructed to do so.
The new fines for people breaching self-isolation rules start at £1,000 – 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 worst breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. This could include employers who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work. The fines send a clear message that this will not be tolerated.
A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:
NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police;
Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence;
Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and extreme cases of non-compliance; and
Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating.