Low-income Oldham workers who self-isolate can claim payment

People living in Oldham on low incomes can now claim up to £182 if they have to self-isolate because of coronavirus and cannot work from home.

From Tuesday 1 September, those who claim Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit will be able to get money equal to £13 a day, as per the government's announcement last week. 

Individuals who test positive for the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of isolation. 

Other members of their household who have to self-isolate for 14 days will be entitled to a payment of £182.

Non-household contacts who are advised to quarantine through the NHS Test and Trace will also be paid up to £182 - depending on the length of isolation period.

Payments will be made 48 hours after the individual provides the necessary evidence. People will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace, and a bank statement.

These benefits, which are being trialled in several towns including Oldham, come after calls for financial support for those being asked to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace. 

'New payment will help people on low incomes' 

Announcing the payment scheme, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The British public have already sacrificed a great deal to help slow the spread of the virus. Self-isolating if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have come into contact with someone who has, remains vital to keeping on top of local outbreaks.

"This new payment scheme will help people on low incomes and who are unable to work from home to continue playing their part in the national fight against this virus."

'This offer is nowhere near enough to provide real support' 

Responding to the announcement, Oldham Council Leader, Sean Fielding, commented: “I am pleased that the Government have agreed to at least provide some financial help for those being asked to self-isolate in Oldham.

“Sadly this offer is nowhere near enough to provide real support, and it shows how out of touch with ordinary people this Government is.

“I stand with the Time Out To Help Out campaign in asking Government to support people across the country to self-isolate on full pay. People should not have to worry about loss of income whilst being asked to self-isolate. Oldham residents have pulled together to face this crisis, we now need Government do to their bit.

“We need a real and meaningful offer of support for Oldham residents who deserve better."

'How can an announcement like this work?' 

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I have been calling for weeks for the Government to provide financial support for those asked to self-isolate. I am pleased they have at last acknowledged this issue but am sorry to say this move goes nowhere near far enough.

"The Health Secretary has already said that he couldn’t live on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) at £95 a week. So how can an announcement like this work?

"For many workers in Greater Manchester, this will not provide the support people need to cooperate with NHS Test and Trace. Having belatedly acknowledged that something needs to be done, Government must now accept the calls of the ‘Time Out to Help Out’ campaign and support people across the country to self-isolate on full pay.

"For us to get a grip on this virus before we head into a winter without a vaccine, the vast majority of those contacted by national Test and Trace need to be able to self-isolate immediately and not worry about loss of earnings or, worse, losing a job. Quite simply, these measures are not good enough." 

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