Low income Brits in Blackburn, Oldham and Pendal to get up to £182 quarantine payment


BRITS on benefits can be paid up to £182 if they have been told to quarantine by the NHS test and trace scheme.

The payments will be made by the government to compensate for any loss of earnings low-income workers may suffer as a result of having to self-isolate.

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Low-income Brits can claim a one-off payment if they're told to self-isolate

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Low-income Brits can claim a one-off payment if they’re told to self-isolateCredit: Getty Images – Getty

The scheme launched on September 1 but only those on Universal Credit or working tax credits were initially eligible for payments.

Today, that has been extended to include people who claim income related employment and support allowance (ESA), jobseekers allowance (JSA), income support, savings pension credit or housing benefit.

Under current government guidelines, those who test positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for ten days, while members of their household must stay at home for 14 days.

Many low-income employees earning less than £120 a week aren’t entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) when they take time off.

What is statutory sick pay (SSP)?

IF you’re too sick to work, you may qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) from your employer.

To qualify for sick pay, you must work for an employer and earn on average at least £120 per week (£6,240 per year).

The weekly rate for statutory sick pay is £95.85 for up to 28 weeks, although most employers will pay more than this.

From April 16, employers were told to start paying sick pay to those who were shielding from the first day an employee was off work.

Businesses didn’t have to pay any money for someone who was shielding before this date. This scheme ended on August 1. 

To qualify, you will need to have been off work due to illness or self-isolate due to coronavirus for at least four days in a row. 

You won’t qualify if you’ve already received the maximum amount of pay – which is 28 weeks.

You also won’t qualify if you’re getting Statutory Maternity Pay.

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As such, there are fears workers who’ve been contacted by NHS test and trace are ignoring the advice to avoid a loss of income.

But now those who claim certain benefits and who test positive for coronavirus will receive a one-off £130 payment to stay at home, while members of their household will be entitled to a payout worth a one-off £182.

Low-income Brits who aren’t in the household but have been identified as being in close contact with an infected person will also receive £13 a day, up to £182, for every day they have to self-isolate for.

This is because they may not have to isolate for as long as someone who lives in the same household if a negative test result comes back before the 14-day quarantine period is up.

The payment will not reduce any other benefits that a person may already receive, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.

You can get the payment more than once but only if you are told by NHS test and trace to isolate again.

Who is eligible for the payment?

The payments are only available to those who have been told to self-isolate in the worst hit areas of the UK that have been put into local lockdowns.

Currently, this includes who live in Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle, but it could be rolled out to other areas with a high number of coronavirus cases.

The DWP says that the scheme will be reviewed over the next few weeks before deciding whether it will be rolled out to other parts of the country.

It’s not clear if the payments will be extended to include those who are affected in Birmingham, which has been put into lockdown today after a sharp spike in the number of cases.

We’ve asked the DWP and will let you know when we find out more.

Local authorities will be responsible for working out who qualifies for payments. See below for how you can apply.

You will also need to be claiming certain benefits. These include:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working tax credits
  • ESA
  • JSA
  • Income support
  • Pension credit
  • Housing benefit
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Workers who are in full time employment and the self-employed can claim the payment, but you have to prove you have lost income as a result of self-isolating.

You won’t be able to make a claim for any time you had to take off to self-isolate before the scheme started in your local area.

In Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle the incentive began on September 1.

Workers who have to self-isolate after travelling abroad and those who can work from home while they isolate won’t be able to claim.

What to do if you don’t get statutory sick pay?

THOSE who have been told to stay at home by NHS test and trace and fear they will lose income can get help with their finances. Here’s how:

  • Universal credit – You can apply for Universal Credit, which you’re now able to do online.
  • Foodbanks – If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank which will provide you with help for free – but you must be referred to it by a doctor, jobcentre or social worker. You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.
  • If you’re renting, speak to your landlord – A ban on evictions has been extended until September 20 in England and Wales, so your landlord can’t kick you out of your home if you’re struggling. But you have to set up an affordable repayment plan with your landlord, which takes your circumstances into account. It’s best to pay as much as you can, when you can, to stop arrears building up.
  • If you’re paying a mortgage, ask your bank for a three-month mortgage holiday – The payment freeze has been pushed until October 31 this year. We’ve created a guide of how to apply for one.
  • Payment holidays – You can get a three-month payment holiday on your loans and credit cards, and you have until October 31 2020 to request one. Here’s how to apply for one. 
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How to make a claim

If you’ve been asked to quarantine by NHS test and trace and your income has been cut as a result, you will need to apply for help from your local authority.

Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle councils have set up dedicated claims pages on their websites.

You will have to provide evidence of the notification from NHS test and trace, such as a text message, when making an application, as well as a bank statement to show your income has fallen.

Employed people will be asked to show proof of employment, for example your contract or payslip.

Self-employed people will need to show evidence of their trading income and that their business cannot be carried out without social contact.

You will also need to wait until your period of self-isolation is over before making a claim.

Applications will need to be made within two weeks of your quarantine period ending.

When will I get paid?

Councils aim to pay applicants within 48 hours after they have submitted a claim for the payment.

This gives authorities enough time to check with NHS test and trace and your employers to prevent any fraudulent claims.

If you haven’t heard back within the two-day period, you should contact your local authority directly.

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