Tower Hamlets Council has paid £237,500 to vulnerable residents who have had to self-isolate due to Covid-19. This means 475 residents on low incomes have successfully applied for the £500 support payment.
The £500 payment was introduced by the government in September, to support people on low incomes in high risk areas, who are unable to work from home and would lose money by self-isolating.
Self-isolation, when identified as a positive Covid-19 case or having been in contact with a positive Covid-19 case, became a legal requirement from 28 September 2020. Local councils then became responsible for supporting self-isolation payment applications from their residents, checking eligibility and issuing payments.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “If you have to self-isolate you shouldn’t also have to worry about not being able to feed your family because you aren’t able to work. We’ve distributed the £500 support payment to families on low incomes who isolate to keep themselves and the whole community safe.”
Councillor Mufeedah Bustin, Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion said: “We will continue to work to support all vulnerable residents affected by Covid-19 and anyone who is eligible for the support payment should get in touch if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. These payments are a vital lifeline and we’ll work with our residents so they get the support they need”
Residents who meet the following criteria can apply for the £500 self-isolation payment:
- Advised to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, from either testing positive for Covid-19 or having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
- Responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (by email, text, letter or phone call) to provide contact details, where they’ve tested positive, and the details of contacts;
- Employed or self-employed, unable to work from home and losing income as a result;
- In receipt of, or the partner of someone who is in receipt of Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
Residents can find out more and apply for the self-isolation payment on the council website.
Funding was previously also made available for the council to give discretionary grants to those in need who did not meet these criteria. However, there has been a high volume of applications and approximately half the level of funding available for this part of the scheme, which means the council can no longer support discretionary grant applications.
The council has been advised by government that funds cannot be transferred between the two grant streams; it will be asking for greater flexibility and adequate funding so that it can support all residents in need.
In addition to supporting residents with the £500 self-isolation payment, the council has provided additional crisis and hardship grants for food and fuel by topping up available funds for the Resident Support Scheme, now increased to £950,000 from £600,000. The eligibility criteria were also relaxed, allowing residents to apply multiple times for food and fuel, which was additional to the normal hardship grant allocation.
Posted on Friday 11th December 2020