Some people who have been told to self-isolate because they’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus might now be eligible for a £500 payment from the city council.
The council has opened applications for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme – but not everyone will be eligible and there are caveats.
The scheme will run for the next few months, to help people affected by Covid-19 who have either tested positive or been told to self-isolate.
There are conditions which must be met for someone to get the £500 payment, which is designed to tide people over for the two weeks they have to isolate for.
Why is self-isolation important?
“Self-isolation is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the city,” said Dr Christina Gray, Bristol’s director of public health.
“However, we need to help our residents avoid financial hardship if they are unable to work because they have been asked to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace system.
“Ensuring that Bristol residents who need to self-isolate are able to do so is vital. This new scheme will help us to support those on low incomes, protect our most vulnerable and provide some reassurance for those who had concerns around self-isolating due to loss of income and not being able to work from home.”
The payment support scheme has been brought in following new laws requiring everyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or those identified as ‘close contacts’ to self isolate.
Who is eligible?
Here are the conditions you have to meet to be eligible for the £500.
1) A resident of the city of Bristol. If you live in South Gloucestershire, North Somerset or Bath and North East Somerset, then contact your local authority.
2) You have to have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus, or you have recently been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive.
3) Are in low-paid employment or are self-employed.
4) Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
5) 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.
If you don’t match all of those criteria, but still think you need support because of coronavirus, there is also a local discretionary scheme available to those who do not receive one of the benefits, but who are in low paid employment, meet the main qualifying criteria and could suffer financial hardship as a result of not being able to work, the council confirmed.
When can you claim?
There is a time period involved here too. The payment scheme will run until at least January 31 next year but only starts for people who were told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after September 28, 2020. If you were told to self-isolate before September 28 but the period of self-isolation included and went past September 28, then you won’t be eligible.
Claims can be made retrospectively for anyone who was told to self-isolate after September 28, and you have 14 days after the period of self-isolation ends to make a claim.
“In order for an application to be verified, residents will be required to provide evidence supporting their application,” a council spokesperson said.
“This includes proof of employment or self-employment, proof of loss of income, the self-isolation notification from NHS Test and Trace, and a bank statement for the account which the payment will be made to, which must be in the name of the applicant,” she added
What if it’s an entire family?
If more than one person is self-isolating in a household, individual applications to receive a payment can be made, as long as each person meets the eligibility criteria, the council said.
Residents can also claim more than once, if requested to self-isolate multiple times, as long as the criteria is met for each individual claim and the periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
How to find out more
To find out if you’re eligible and to apply for the scheme please visit here.
“If you are not eligible but would like to know about other support available, see our Get Help page or call We Are Bristol on 0800 694 0184, open 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday,” the council spokesperson added.