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Coronavirus – getting benefits if you’re self-isolating

This advice applies to Wales

The government have ended the laws about self-isolating. This means you don't legally have to self-isolate, but the government still recommend you self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus.

If you’re able to work, you don’t have the right to get benefits just because you’re self-isolating or you’ve got coronavirus. It’s worth speaking to your employer - they might agree to let you take paid sick leave.

If you’re too ill to work, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer if you have one - check if you can get SSP. If you can’t get SSP you might be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the government - check if you can get ESA.

You can also find out what to do if you need to be off work to care for someone.

Check if you can get a self-isolation payment

You might be able to get a single 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.

You could get the payment if you're self-isolating at home because either:

  • you tested positive for coronavirus
  • the NHS told you to self-isolate - this includes getting a message or ‘ping’ from the NHS COVID-19 app

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

To get the payment you’ll have to show you have no income or a low income.

If you’re the parent or carer of a child who’s self-isolating

You could get a self-isolation payment if your child is self-isolating at home for one of these reasons:

  • they tested positive for coronavirus
  • their school told them to self-isolate
  • the NHS told them to self-isolate - this doesn’t include getting a message or ‘ping’ from the NHS COVID-19 app

To get the payment, your child must usually go to school, further education or childcare. 

They’ll usually need to be in year 11 or below. If they’re on an Education, Health and Care Plan, they can be up to 25 years old.

Check if you’re eligible for the payment

You should be able to get the payment if 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

If you’re not getting any of the benefits, you could still get the payment if you’re struggling with your living costs because you can’t work.

You must apply for the payment within 21 days of your self-isolation ending.

You can find out more and apply on your local council’s website – find your council’s website on the Welsh government website.

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.

If you’re a care worker in Wales 

You can apply to get your full pay while you can’t work because you’re self-isolating. This is called the ‘statutory sick pay enhancement scheme’.

You can’t apply to get your full pay if you’re also applying for a self-isolation payment from your local council. You have to decide which one to apply to for each time you self-isolate.

Talk to your employer to find out how to apply to the statutory sick pay enhancement scheme. You can find out more about the statutory sick pay enhancement scheme on the Welsh government website.

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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