People in England who must self-isolate under new measures to curb the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may be able to claim hundreds of pounds to support themselves.
The government has activated its ‘Plan B’ rules to slow the spread of the variant – these include extending mask-wearing rules to more public places, reviving work-from-home guidance and need for Covid health certificates in large places.
During a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday, December 8, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Omicron’s doubling time in the UK could be between “two to three days”.
Previously, those who received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine did not have to self-isolate if they came into contact with someone who tested positive.
However, under new guidelines, everyone must isolate – by not leaving home, even for work or school – if they have been in close contact with someone identified as a suspected or confirmed case of Omicron, reports the Liverpool Echo.
The isolation period includes the date of last contact with the person who tested positive for Covid-19 and the following 10 full days.
Contacts must complete their full isolation period even if they receive a negative test result during that period.
However, those whose self-isolation results in loss of income may be eligible for financial assistance under the Test and Trace Support Payment Program.
The payment is Â£ 500 and is for low-income people who need to self-isolate because they have tested positive for Covid-19; or has been notified as a close contact of a person who tested positive for Covid-19 and not exempt from self-isolation.
People may be eligible if they are employed or self-employed and cannot work from home. The parent or guardian of a self-isolating child or youth may also be eligible for payment.
Who can claim the Â£ 500?
You may be able to claim child support if you are low-income and meet these conditions:
- You have been told to stay home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the app because you have tested positive for covid or have been told you are close contact by NHS Test and Trace
- responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and provided all information required by law, such as details of your recent close contacts
- are employed or self-employed
- are unable to work from home and will lose income due to self-isolation
- currently receive or are the partner of a person in the same household who receives, at least one of the following benefits, including the universal credit, the tax credit for work, the employment allowance and support based on income, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income assistance, housing benefit, pension credit.
If you do not receive any of these benefits, you may still be entitled to a discretionary payment of Â£ 500 if all of the following apply:
- you meet all of the other criteria listed above
- you are low income
- you will face financial hardship due to self-isolation
How to register
In England, the Test and Trace Support Payment program is managed by local councils.
If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment or for a Discretionary Payment, you can apply through your local council. You can apply for up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.
You will need an NHS Test and Trace account ID, bank statement and proof of employment, or proof of self-assessment if you are self-employed, for the application.
If you are applying as a parent or guardian, you will need to provide your child’s NHS Test and Trace account ID.
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