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Council provides details on accessing Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grants

13th October 2020

The Highland Council has published new information on the Coronavirus Covid-19 button on the front page of its website on how people can access the new Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grant.

https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus

Funded by the Scottish Government, the new grant is available for individuals who are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service, in receipt of low-income benefits and who will lose income as they are unable to work from home.

If you have been asked by NHS Test and Protect Service to self-isolate on or after 28th September 2020, either because you have tested positive for Covid-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to a £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant.

Applications can be made each time you or anyone within your household have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service.

People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if they each meet the eligible criteria.

To be eligible anyone aged 16 or over who lives in the Highland Council area and has received notification from NHS Test and Protect Service to self-isolate must meet all of the following requirements:

Have been required by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus, have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or are awaiting a test result and they have granted permission for the Test and Protect Service to share this data with The Highland Council;

are employed or self-employed;

are unable to work from home and will experience reduced earnings as a result; and

are currently receiving or have been awarded but not yet received a payment of:

Universal Credit;

Working Tax Credit;

Income-based Employment and Support Allowance;

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance;

Income Support;

Housing Benefit; and/or

Pension Credit.

Welcoming this funding aimed at supporting the most vulnerable, the Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "We are all aware of the many challenges people are facing so I am sure knowing this new and non-repayable self-isolation support grant is available, will give some reassurance and help relieve some of the stress and financial concerns people asked to self-isolate will have.

"Our team of staff are ready to assist, and I encourage anyone who has been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service and think they are eligible for a £500 grant, to get in touch."

Anyone wishing to apply should contact the Council's Welfare Support Team on 0800 090 1004 to ensure that all help that is available to them can be claimed, including this non-repayable self-isolation support payment.

Cllr Davidson added: "If you do not meet all the criteria but are on a low income and self-isolation will cause hardship you should still make contact as our staff will be able to advise if you qualify for a Crisis Grant and other support that may be available."

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Self-Isolation Support Grant now open

People to receive phone calls offering support.

Applications for the Self-Isolation Support Grant have opened for low income workers who are asked to self-isolate and would lose income if they needed to isolate.

The £500 grant will help those who have been asked by Test and Protect to isolate, following testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

These payments are designed to help people self-isolate for the required period to stop the spread of the virus, but who would face financial hardship due to being asked to self-isolate and will be targeted at those in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits who are employed or self-employed.

The Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service is also being introduced to support people needing to isolate. As well as being able to self-refer for support through the existing National Assistance Helpline, local authorities will now proactively contact those being asked to self-isolate to offer help, advice and assistance including help to access essential food and medication or local support services.

The service will deliver an initial 30 minute call, followed up by two 10 minute calls during the period of self-isolation and will initially prioritise the most vulnerable individuals. This will ensure people are referred to the relevant services for support while maximising uptake of the Self-Isolation Support Grant for those who are eligible.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

"Self-isolation is essential to protect people and reduce the spread of COVID-19 but we do not want people to experience financial hardship, particularly those with no access to public funds, due to a loss of income as a result of doing the right thing. Whilst employers should do everything they can to allow people to work from home we know this isn't always possible so this £500 grant is there to help.

“We know self-isolating can be tough, and want to do everything we can to support people throughout this challenging time. Our new assistance phone service will proactively contact people who have been asked to self-isolate and direct them to support that they may need, for example access to food or medicines, the Self-Isolation Grant or other financial support they may be eligible for, as well as other local services including community volunteering, emotional support and social work.

“This service will initially focus on those who are on the shielding list, people aged 70+, disabled people, and people in low income households. We are considering how we roll this service out to further groups to reach even more people and provide support for them to isolate."

COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson Councillor Kelly Parry said:

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government, working in partnership with Scottish local government, have made available this grant to provide financial assistance to those on low incomes who need to self-isolate. Local councils are well placed to provide advice, support and assistance which will help reduce the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do to ensure that members of our communities who are most at risk and vulnerable to the effects of the virus are kept safe. This grant will assist those who will lose income as a result and are at most risk of financial hardship, including those with no recourse to public funds, stay home and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Background

People will be informed on how to apply for the Self-Isolation Support Grant after they have been contacted by Test and Protect and asked to self-isolate through a follow up call from their local authority. People may make an application of their own accord prior to the follow-up call from their local authority.

Payments are available to eligible people who were told to self-isolate from 28 September onwards.

The Self-Isolation Support Grant does not cover people who are quarantining after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the Test and Protect Service.

Grants can be received more than once if people are asked to self-isolate on more than one occasion, as long as these do not overlap.

The Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service will deliver an initial 30 minute triaging call, followed up by two 10 minute calls through the individuals period of self-isolation. People contacted and informed of the need to self-isolate by contact tracers will be asked whether they wish to opt-in to their details being passed to local authorities to receive this new service. For people who are not in priority groups or are self-isolating but have not been contacted by contact tracing teams, the existing National Assistance Helpline is available to support them.

Clients may opt-out at this stage, or on any of the calls from local authorities if they choose to opt-in. If they opt-out, they can still access support by phoning the existing National Assistance Helpline.

 

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