People in Bristol who are self-isolating because of coronavirus and cannot work from home could be eligible for a support payment of £500.
Bristol City Council has opened applications for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, will will see money given to low income or self-employed workers in the city affected by the virus.
Those who test positive, or are 'close contacts' of anyone who does, is now required by law to self-isolate. This scheme aims to help those who have to quarantine and will struggle financially.
As always, there are terms and conditions - and not everyone will qualify for the cash. Other local authorities in the West Country are also offering the support.
Am I eligible for the £500?
To get the payment, you must:
Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has.
Be low paid employed or self-employed.
Be unable to work from home and will lose income.
Currently receive Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
Local discretionary schemes will be available to those who do not receive any of the above but are in low paid employment and meet the above criteria.
What are the caveats?
Applications are now open but will only be accepted from those who were told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020, even if the period of self-isolation continued after this date.
You can only make a claim up to 14 days after your period of self-isolation ends.
To submit an application, you must provide evidence. This includes proof of employment or self-employment, proof of loss of income, the self-isolation notification from NHS Test and Trace, and a bank statement for the account that the £500 will be paid into.
Why has this been introduced?
Bristol's Director of Public Health, Christina Gray, said self-isolation "is key" but the local authority in the city must help people avoid "financial hardship if they are unable to work because they have been asked to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace system."
Ms Gray continued: "This new scheme will help us to support those on low incomes, protect our most vulnerable and provide some reassurance for those who had concerns around self-isolating due to loss of income and not being able to work from home.” What if more than one person in my household is self-isolating?
If more than one person is self-isolating in a single household, individual applications can be completed as long as each person meets the criteria set out above.
You can also claim more than once if you have to self-isolate more than once. This is only allowed if the periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
The scheme will run until 31 January 2021.
For more information, visit the Bristol City Council website.