Payments and penalties: new measures launched to encourage self-isolation for Covid-19 cases
New measures will be introduced for people who test positive for Covid-19 from today (Monday, 28 September) including fines for failing to self-isolate and financial support for those on low incomes.
In a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, Government has announced 14-day self-isolation will now be a legal requirement for people who test positive for Covid-19, or who are identified by the NHS Test and Trace as a close contact.
To provide financial assistance to people on low incomes who are told by NHS Test and Trace that they must self-isolate as a result of a positive test or because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has, a new Test and Trace Support Payment will be come into effect today ( 28 September).
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “The new measures announced by the Government are about deterring people from putting others at risk and supporting those who comply with the rules.
“But people who test positive for Covid-19 should not face the conundrum of choosing to self-isolate to protect others and putting themselves at risk of financial hardship by being unable to work or seek employment. Hopefully these new payments give people the ability to self-isolate without worrying about the financial impact.”
Birmingham City Council will administer the Test and Trace Support Payment and are working at pace to set up an online and telephony-based application process, in readiness for the Government timescale of 12 October. For those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September backdated payments will be made.
To be eligible for the new Test and Trace Support Payment, someone must:
- Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has;
- Be employed or self-employed
- And be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
- And must be 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.
Individuals who qualify and who meet the criteria will be entitled to a £500 lump sum payable into their bank account. These payments will be subject to income tax but not National Insurance contributions. Central Government are to advise local authorities on the process for this.
Government guidance states the payments will only be eligible for positive diagnosis from 28 September onwards until the scheme ends on 31 January 2021 and people will be able to claim for each period of self-isolation.
Furthermore, those who fail to comply will be subject to a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeated breaches or for employers who threaten their staff with unemployment for adhering to the self-isolation timeframe.
The council has until 12 October to launch the new online application form, which is currently in development. Anyone who is eligible for the payment between 28 September and the launch date will be able to submit a backdated claim.