An admin error has left people on benefits and low income unable to access the government’s self-isolating support grant in yet another NHS Test and Trace blunder.
It was claimed up to four million vulnerable people in England could be eligible for the £500 grant when prime minister Boris Johnson announced the Test and Trace Support Payment in September.
However, those asked to self-isolate by local track and trace teams have been unable to access the cash because local councils cannot provide an NHS Test and Trace code.
Likewise, people asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app are also not given reference codes because, due to the app being voluntary, there is no way of knowing who receives an alert.
The scheme, which runs until the end of January, is only accessible to people told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace directly and not those automatically notified by the app.
Anna Stevenson, a welfare benefit expert from anti-poverty charity Turn2us, said: “It is ridiculous that if you are told to isolate by the national phone line you get support, but if you are told by the app, or a local official, you don’t get any support.
“The government needs to fix this as soon as possible, because without the correct financial support people are going to struggle to self-isolate.”
Applicants for the grant must be claiming specific benefits and provide their council with a bank statement, proof of employment and evidence of being self-employed or unable to work from home.
In England, the scheme can only be accessed by people 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.
Hannah Grieveson, a 29-year-old hairdresser from Wallsend, applied for the grant days after testing positive for Covid-19 and being told to self-isolate in October.
But, more than one month on, her claim has still not been approved by North Tyneside...