People in Wales asked to self-isolate via the NHS Covid-19 app can now apply for £500 self-isolation support payment
Those asked to self-isolate via the NHS Covid-19 app will now be eligible to apply for the £500 self-isolation support payment, Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James has announced.
From today app users who have been notified as being exposed to the virus, are on low income and at risk of financial hardship are eligible alongside those who have been asked to self-isolate by Test, Trace, Protect or parents whose child has been asked to self-isolate by their education setting.
To be eligible to apply, app users will need to meet the criteria of the main scheme and be:
- Employed or self-employed;
- unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
- (the applicant or their partner) 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; or
- Have their application accepted under the discretionary element of Self-Isolation Support Scheme.
To allow as many people notified by the app to apply as soon as possible, a temporary workaround has been created until a digital solution is available.
Users can apply for the payment by contacting their local authority. However until the app is updated to verify individuals who has been asked to self-isolate, users will need to show evidence that the app has asked them to self-isolate in addition to evidence of reduced income when applying.
Local authorities will be able to accept and process applications for payments from Friday 5 February and applicants will be able to apply up to three weeks from their last date of isolation.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:
“The Welsh Government is committed to protecting people’s health and wellbeing and we will continue to support the people of Wales during this difficult time.”
“The £500 payment has already provided financial security to those asked to self-isolate, helping to break the cycle of transmission and ensure no one has to choose between feeding their family or going to work and potentially spreading the virus.”
“Local Authorities have once again risen to the challenge of ensuring all those who need financial support throughout this pandemic receive it whilst we finalising work to allow people to apply directly through the app. They have already been working tirelessly I once again thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
“I will continue to keep the scheme under review to ensure that those most in need receive the support they need to self-isolate and reduce transmission.”
The Welsh Conservatives have described the implementation of the scheme as confusing – and disadvantageous for those who really need the payment.
Shadow Minister for Health, Angela Burns MS, said: “Aside from the statement from the Welsh Government being confusing, the app should have been readied before this scheme was opened.
“However, what is clear is that applications still cannot be backdated to September, meaning people in Wales who need this £500 payment – and who are likely to fall into the financially vulnerable category – cannot access it and are therefore badly disadvantaged.
“The Welsh Government can’t congratulate itself over this, but must remedy both the ability to apply for a backdated payment and to sort out the app instead of the hybrid scheme it has put into place.”