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Coronavirus – getting benefits if you’re self-isolating

This advice applies to Scotland

There are benefits and grants you can claim if you or your child have to self-isolate. What you should claim depends on whether you have to stop working to self-isolate.

If you’re not sure, you should check if you have to self-isolate on the Scottish government website.

If you have to stop working to self-isolate, you might be able to get:

  • a self-isolation support grant from your local council

If you weren’t working, you might be able to get ESA. 

You can get a self-isolation payment at the same time as SSP or ESA.

You can also: 

If you're returning to the UK from abroad

You might need to self-isolate – this is also called 'quarantine'.

You can’t get SSP for being in quarantine. You might be able to get it for other reasons – for example if you have symptoms of coronavirus.

If you're employed, talk to your employer about what you can do while you're in quarantine – ask them if you can:

  • work from home
  • take annual or unpaid leave – you might be able to get ESA if you have to take unpaid leave

If you're a social care worker

If you're a social care worker and you're self-isolating, you might be able to keep getting your normal pay.

You're a social care worker if you work in the social care sector. For example, you work in:

  • a care home
  • childcare
  • offender accommodation
  • housing support
  • someone's own home as a personal assistant.

You'll only get your normal pay if you're self-isolating because you have coronavirus or you're following public health guidance. For example, you're self-isolating because you've been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

Ask your employer to keep paying you your normal pay. They should apply to the Scottish Government's Social Care Staff Support Fund to get the money back. 

Find out more about the Social Care Staff Support Fund.

Check if you can get a self-isolation support grant

You might be able to get a payment of £500 from your local council if you’re employed or self-employed and you’ve lost income because you can’t work from home.

To get the grant you must have been told to self-isolate by the NHS, including through the Protect Scotland app. This must be because:

  • you tested positive for coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone who tested positive
  • you're the parent or carer of a child under 16 who has been told to self-isolate
  • you're caring for someone over 16 who has been told to self-isolate.

Check your options if you need to change how you work to care for someone.

If you're told to self-isolate through the app, you can download a certificate on your phone. You can use that certificate as proof when you're claiming self-isolation support or contacting your employer.

You can’t get the grant just because you have to quarantine when you enter the UK from abroad.

You should be able to get the payment if you earn £9.50 an hour or less, or you get at least one of these benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credits
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council tax reduction because of low income.

If you're not getting any of the benefits, you could still get the payment if your council thinks you would be eligible for Universal Credit or if you’re struggling with your living costs because you can’t work.

You might also be able to get the grant if you’re on a low income and your immigration status means you have no recourse to public funds.

You should apply within 28 days of being told to self-isolate. Find out more and get a link to your local council's website on mygov.scot.

You can get the payment more than once if you have to self-isolate again. 

Councils will also phone people who are self-isolating to see if they need a grant or help applying.

If your local council refuses to give you a self-isolation support grant

You can ask your local council to look at their decision again. It’s worth showing them extra evidence that you need the money. For example, you might show them evidence of bills you have to pay soon.

If your local council refuses to give you a self-isolation payment

You can't appeal the decision, but you can ask your local council to look at their decision again. It’s worth showing them extra evidence that you need the money. For example you might show them evidence of bills you have to pay soon.

Check if you can get SSP

If you stop working and lose money because you’re self-isolating you might be able to get SSP from your employer.

You could get SSP if:

  • you have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus

  • someone you live with has coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus

  • you’re told by the NHS you've been in contact with someone with coronavirus

  • you’ve been told to self-isolate before you go into hospital for surgery

You can check if you can get SSP.

If you can't get sick pay

You might be able to claim ESA from the government. 

You can get a self-isolation support grant at the same time as SSP or ESA.

If you’re a social care worker in Scotland, you might be able to get your normal pay if you’re self-isolating. 

Check if you can get ESA

You might be able to claim ESA if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus. For example, you might be self-isolating because you:

  • or someone you live with have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus – or you’re still recovering

  • came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus 

  • have been told to quarantine after returning from abroad – check if you have to quarantine on GOV.UK

  • will have surgery in the next 14 days

You can also get ESA if your child is self-isolating for one of these reasons. 

 If you can get ESA, you’ll be paid from the first day you were sick or self-isolating. 

You can check if you can get ESA

You might also be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or not working. Check if you can get Universal Credit

If you’re already claiming benefits and start claiming Universal Credit, you won't be able to go back to the benefit you were on before. Talk to an adviser before applying for Universal Credit.

If you're struggling to pay your bills

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank. If you have children, check if they can get free school meals.

You can check what other help you can get if you can't pay your bills. This includes things like your mortgage, energy bills, council tax or court fines.

You might also be able to get other benefits - for example, if you’re a carer or have a long-term health condition. If you’re not sure which benefits to apply for, you can talk to an adviser.

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