Universal Credit claimants could get £500 self-isolation grant but beware huge new fines

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Universal Credit claimants may be able to receive a one-off £500 payment if they are forced to self-isolate under new rules. The government confirmed people who are in work on low incomes will be able to claim a £500 lump sum payment if they cannot work from home and are required to self-isolate.

To qualify for this payment, the claimant must be:

  • Told by NHS Test and Trace that they are required to self-isolate
  • Employed or self-employed
  • Unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • 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.

It was detailed that local authorities will be required to have support schemes set up and ready to go by October 12.

Anyone who is told to self-isolate from September 28 will receive backdated payments once the scheme is ready in their area.

Boris Johnson commented on the track and trace plans: “The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus.

“And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

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“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines.

“We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.

“And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate.

“That’s why we’re also introducing a new £500 Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.”

While the £500 should help people with limited financial resources, it should be noted that the potential fines involved for not following the rules can be much higher.

If the self-isolation rules are not followed, fines can be levied which will start at £1,000.

They can then increase to £10,000 and repeat offenders may be prosecuted.

There are around four million people who receive the qualifying benefits in England who may be eligible for the payment.

To keep on top of these plans, NHS test and trace call handlers will make regular contact with those who have been told to self-isolate.

These handlers will be able to inform local authorities if they suspect that people aren’t following the new rules.

Police will also be checking on people who are in the worst hit areas and high-profile issues of non-compliance will be investigated and prosecuted.

Additionally, where other third parties have identified non-compliance, they’ll be able to report the problem and it will then be acted upon.

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