Eligibility criteria for the Self-Isolation Support Payment widened
More people will now be eligible to apply for the £500 Self-Isolation Support Payment the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James has announced.
The scheme, which has been extended until June 2021, will now be open to applications from people with a personal income of less than £500 per week and those on Basic Statutory Sick Pay who have been asked to self-isolate by Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) service, the NHS Covid-19 App or by their child’s education setting.
These changes, will make approximately 170,000 additional people now eligible for the payment, if they are asked to self-isolate and would lose income as a result.
The payment scheme was intended to help remove financial barriers faced by people who need to self-isolate by providing a £500 payment for people who are employed or self-employed, who had been told to self-isolate by the Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) service and who are in receipt of Universal Credit or another specified benefit, unable to work from home or are a parent or care or a child asked to self-isolate due to an outbreak in an education setting.
The discretionary element supports people who are not on benefits but who meet the other criteria and are at risk of financial hardship.
In addition the scheme has been extended until June 2021 with the possibility for further extension until October 2021.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:
“Self-isolation is key if we are to stop the spread of coronavirus and with more community testing programmes planned in the coming months it is vital we enhance the scheme to help more people self-isolate and receive the financial support they need.
“I want to reiterate my thanks to every Local Authority in Wales for their continued support in delivering this scheme. Feedback from our Local Authorities is that the scheme is working well with nearly 8,500 payments made. However we know that a lack of income is still being reported as a barrier for people self-isolating.
The Welsh Government is committed to protecting people’s health and wellbeing and we will continue to help the people of Wales during this difficult time by ensuring those in most need support receive it.”
Councillor Anthony Hunt (Torfaen), WLGA Finance Spokesperson said:
“We welcome the extension to the Self Isolation Support Scheme, which will help anyone who faces the choice of staying at home and not being able being able to feed their family or going to work and potentially spreading coronavirus. No-one should have to make such a decision. Extending this support will continue to help everyone play their part in the fight against this pandemic.”
Notes to editors
The self-isolation support payment became operational in Wales on 16 November and was established to remove financial barriers faced by people who need to self-isolate.
The scheme is administered by local authorities and includes a discretionary element to support people who are not on benefits but who meet the other criteria and are at risk of financial hardship.
The current eligibility criteria for the scheme are for individuals who have:
- been asked to self-isolate either as a result of a positive test or as a close contact by TTP;
- have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 App; or
- Are a parent or carer of a child who has been asked to self-isolate as a result of an outbreak at an educational setting.
Individuals then need to meet the following criteria:
- re employed or self-employed;
- are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
- (the applicant or their partner) are currently receiving, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit;
- have a personal income of less than £500 per week;
- are on Basic Statutory Sick Pay or;
- Have their application has been accepted under the discretionary element of Self-Isolation Support Scheme.
HMRC have confirmed that payments under the existing scheme are subject to income tax but exempt from National Insurance Contribution