A government scheme to help people on low incomes to self-isolate when required to do so is now up and running in Mansfield.
Mansfield District Council is distributing the £500 self-isolation payments (SIP) for people in the district who have been ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
The need to stay at home if told to do so is now a legal requirement and those who fail to do so could face fines of at least £1,000.
For the most serious breaches of the rules, including preventing others from self-isolating, for example business owners threatening self-isolating staff with redundancy, the fines could be as high as £10,000.
Those ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace service will be issued with a 'tracker number' and they will need this to claim a SIP.
People self-isolating could be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to ensure they are staying at home and any suspicions of non-compliance could be referred to local authorities and police to investigate further.
The £500 SIP is available to some people who are on low incomes and who cannot work from home and who could lose pay as a result of this new mandatory obligation to stay at home. This can be paid each time a person is asked to self-isolate.
Cllr Craig Whitby, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Finance at Mansfield District Council, said: "We are pleased to say that we have now got our systems ready to receive claims. We aim to process claims within three days.
"We urge people on low income benefits, who are worried they could lose pay by staying at home to self-isolate, not to be tempted to go to work anyway.
"It is important everyone helps to suppress this virus from spreading and all the evidence is that self-isolating makes that much more possible. Not doing so could have costly consequences and not just because people risk being fined quite substantial sums of money.
"Not everyone who has COVID-19 shows symptoms so by not staying at home when asked to do so, they risk passing on the virus to other people, possibly people who could become seriously ill with it."
Who is eligible for this payment?
They must be:
- asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- employed or self-employed
- unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and
- 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.
If you have been told on or after 28 September 2020 to self-isolate, you can claim up to 14 days after your period of self-isolation has ended. The scheme will run until 31 January 2021.
The payments are subject to income tax, if paid, but not National Insurance contributions.
People can find out more on the council's Test and Trace Support Payment webpage.
More details about the support scheme can be found on the Government website (opens in new window).