£500 self-isolation grant now includes new Omicron variant of Covid-19 – check if you qualify

Covid-19 continues to spread across Scotland and the rest of the UK with the latest figures showing 16,857 new cases had been identified on Thursday, bringing the total number to 902,889 since the pandemic began.

Some 4,381,226 Scots have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 4,012,490 their second, and a further 2,944,977 a third dose or booster.

If you are on a low income and the NHS Test and Protect service contacts you telling you to self-isolate due to Covid1-9 or the Omicron variant, you may be able to claim a £500 Self Isolation Support Grant from the Scottish Government – even if you have received a payment before.

You do not need to pay this grant back, however, if you are employed, you will pay tax on the payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax, but you will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment.

Check if you qualify for £500 payment

The rules for the Self-isolation Support Grant have changed and include guidance for the Omicron variant, full details can be found on the GOV.SCOT website here.

Eligibility for a Self-isolation Support Grant is restricted to people who:

  • have received a request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19, because they have tested positive for coronavirus, or
  • are the individual household contact, the parent of carer of a child under 16 who is a household contact, or the carer of a person over 16 who is a household contact who has been required by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive, or
  • have received a request by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19 because they have recently been in close contact with someone who has either tested positive, or has received a public health request to self-isolate in relation to a variant of concern included on the published list and that individual’s public health request can be verified, or

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  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have received a request by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate, or
  • are the identified appropriate parent or primary carer of a child under 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate, or
  • are the identified appropriate carer of a person over 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, non-household contact with someone who has tested positive

Other qualifying criteria

Before the self-isolation period, you must also be:

  • Employed or self-employed
  • Unable to work from home, and will lose income as a result of self-isolation
  • Be assessed as having low income

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The household must be currently receiving, or has been awarded, but not yet received, a payment of the following benefits, or whose income may entitle them to Universal Credit, should an application have been made prior to their isolation:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit and/or means-tested Council Tax Reduction

You must also be an individual who earns less than the Real Living Wage threshold and the total household income must fall within the agreed definition of ‘low income’, being 25% above the established Universal Credit rate for their household type in their local authority area.

If you are affected by the Omicron variant

From November 30, 2021, the Omicron variant has been added as a variant of concern for the purpose of eligibility for the Self-Isolation Support Grant.

Guidance on GOV.SCOT states: “The rules are different if you’re affected by the Omicron variant. Test and Protect will tell you if this applies to you.

“If you’re fully vaccinated and Test and Protect tell you to self-isolate, you can still apply for the grant even if you get a negative PCR test result.

“If you’re the parent or carer of a fully-vaccinated child who Test and Protect tells to isolate, you can still apply for the grant if their test is negative.”

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Can I claim the grant more than once?

Yes. You can receive the Grant more than once if you are asked to self-isolate on more than one occasion, as long as these isolation periods do not overlap

How to apply

You must apply through your local council within 28 days from the day you are told to self-isolate.

How to apply is different for each council.

You can use the checker on mygov.scot to find out:

  • if you are likely to qualify
  • how to apply for your local council area

Apply through your local council here.

What you need to apply

To apply you need to give your local council:

  • a bank statement
  • proof of low income if you do not claim benefits
  • proof of employment or self-employment

You will also need to allow Test and Protect to share your information with your local council – your council cannot process your application until you do this.

To allow Test and Protect to share your details, you can either:

  • phone the national helpline on 0800 030 8012 – tell them that you agree Test and Protect can share your details with your local council
  • reply to a Test and Protect text message with your postcode – they will text back asking you to agree to share your details with the local council

Guidance on mygov.scot states: “After agreeing that Test and Protect can share your details, wait 48 hours before you apply for the Self-Isolation Support Grant through your local council. It can take up to 48 hours for Test and Protect to share your details.”

Who does not qualify for the grant?

You do not qualify for the self-isolation support grant if:

  • Test and Protect do not ask you, your child or the person you’re caring for to self-isolate
  • You do not work

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What happens after you apply for the grant

The Scottish Government guidance states that your local council will aim to process your application within three working days, however, some councils are dealing with a high number of applications and it may take longer.

After the council checks your information they will contact you to let you know if you can get the grant – this is usually by letter.

Payment of the grant

The council will pay the £500 into your bank account.

If you have any queries about your payment or your application you should contact your local council.

Find out more about applying for the Self Isolation Support Grant here.

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