A new Test and Trace payment of £500 is available from Thanet council for people on lower incomes, who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating
The discretionary funding scheme is to support residents in Thanet on low incomes, who don’t qualify for the mandatory support payments.
There is also a separate Discretionary Fund that will run alongside the main Test and Trace Support Payments which will be managed at a local authority level. This is for people who are on a low income and are unable to work because they are self isolating, but who do not qualify for the Government scheme as they’re not in receipt of the qualifying benefits but will experience extreme financial hardship. This includes individuals with no recourse to Public Funds.
People will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment if they have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and
- Are employed or self-employed;
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
- And 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.
To be considered for the separate Discretionary payment applicants must either: be awaiting a decision on a claim for benefit, have no recourse to public funds, or be at risk of suffering extreme and intolerable hardship.
In order to qualify for the payments residents need to complete an income and expenditure eligibility form which is available on the TDC website.
The total number of people that will be eligible to receive help via the Discretionary Scheme is limited by the amount of funding available. To ensure that the assessments are undertaken fairly, pre-existing methodology and processes will be applied.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “We welcome confirmation from Government that in addition to the statutory payments there is also a small discretionary fund. However, the amount that has been made available will only go so far.
“We’ve been allocated enough to make just over 90 discretionary payments in total. We hope that being able to offer some people this additional support will make a real difference in this difficult time. The criteria we’ve put in place for this aims to be as clear and as fair as possible so that people don’t slip through the net.
“At present the number of cases locally hasn’t risen at the speed seen in other parts of the UK and we hope it remains this way. It is however vital for us all to remain vigilant, to observe the rules around keeping our distance, wearing face coverings and good hand hygiene.”
The scheme for the delivery of the Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme has been developed in line with guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and will run until January 31.
It seems pretty obvious that ,if the government(and the rest of us) want some residents to self-isolate for 14 days because they have been in contact with an infected person, we have to make sure that those who self-isolate don’t end up penniless for 14 days, or having to dig into their own savings, to do so.
So it should be automatic that, if anyone is identified as needing to self-isolate, they should immediately know that their wages will be covered by the government and that , by law, their employer cannot sack them or, if self-employed, their usual sub-contractor cannot suddenly reduce the longer-term work available.
If we don’t do this (and I fear the government has no intention of doing this!) then a lot of people will ignore the need to self-isolate and will “risk it” by going to work as normal. Otherwise, they will have no income for two weeks, or such a reduced income that they will be in severe difficulty.
This pandemic has exposed a lot of the flaws and weaknesses in Britain. The reality that millions of people just manage to live from one wage to the next is one of the painful truths that we should admit when thinking of what society we want at the end of this. NOT a repeat of the previous “normal” way-of-life, I hope.