People self-isolating due to Covid-19 in the highest-risk areas of England will get paid while doing so, health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
Those on low incomes in areas with high rates of virus transmission, who must self-isolate but cannot work from home, will be eligible to receive payments of £182. This is on the basis of either testing positive for the virus, or being a contact of someone who has.
The payments are also available to those currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.
A pilot of the scheme will start from next week in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham – parts of the North West currently experiencing the effects of localised lockdowns.
The initial trial, which will be met with a rapid review before potentially being ‘quickly applied’ elsewhere, will see eligible people who had tested positive for the virus receiving £130 for their 10 days of self-isolation, whilst other members of their household, who must isolate for 14 days, are entitled to £182.
In addition, non-household contacts reached through the NHS’s Test and Trace programme and asked to isolate for 14 days will be able to claim the £182 payment.
They will receive the pay within 48 hours of providing a notification from NHS Test and Trace and their bank statement.
Local authorities will implement checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks, the Government said.
Mr Hancock said: ‘This new payment scheme will help people on low incomes and who are unable to work from home to continue playing their part in the national fight against this virus’.
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