People who have been told they must self-isolate as they have Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has it may be entitled to a £500 payment from the Welsh Government.
A scheme aimed at supporting individuals who have been told by the NHS Wales Test, Trace Protect service to self-isolate is being launched in Swansea from 3pm today (Monday, November 16).
Applicants will have to fit certain eligibility criteria to qualify for one of two types of Self-Isolation Support payments.
The allowances are designed to ensure that eligible people asked to self-isolate do not lose income by abiding by the rules. The arrangements will be managed by councils but the rules have been set out by Welsh Government who will also fund the scheme.
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “These payments will come as a relief to those eligible individuals who’ve done the right thing, listened to the advice and decided to self-isolate to protect others from catching Covid-19.
“Local authorities have been working closely with the Welsh Government for a number of weeks to encourage it to take the necessary action to put these payments in place.
“They are vital because some people in employment or self-employed can face the prospect of losing a significant portion of their income if they self-isolate. On the other hand, if they carry on working – in contravention of new laws being introduced by Welsh Government – they risk spreading the disease in their community and to their workmates.
He said: “If we are to bring the spread of the virus under control and we are asking people who are already low-paid to take a hit on their income to do so, it is only fair the Welsh Government does what it can to support them to do the right thing.
“In Swansea it’s our aim to get payments to those eligible to receive them as quickly as possible.”
The move comes as the council continues to pay out business grants to local firms to help them survive and protect local jobs through the pandemic. In the last six months more than £100m has been paid out to more than 4,000 eligible businesses.
Anyone in work or self-employed who has been told by a contact tracer to self-isolate on or after October 23 this year, could potentially be able to claim a Self-Isolation payment.
However, they will need to meet a number of other strict criteria to get the grant.
They must be employed or self employed, unable to work from home and going to lose income as a result of that. Also, they must be receiving at least one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit
In addition, there is a second Self-Isolation Support scheme which allows a local authority to make a discretionary £500 payment to people in exceptional circumstances who meet most of the criteria for the main grant but do not receive one of the benefits in the list.
For a discretionary payment to be awarded, a person must be facing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while self isolating.
Welsh Government have provided examples of when they consider a discretionary payment could be made:
- To people with No Recourse to Public Funds (in other words, anyone who is not allowed to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that is paid by the state).
- To people with a total income below £350 a week AND savings less than £6,000. For couples this will be their joint income and savings amounts.