Blackburn with Darwen residents are being reminded to check the criteria for the Covid self-isolation support payment before they apply.

Due to current high Covid case rates in the borough – the highest Blackburn with Darwen has ever seen – the council’s revenues and benefits team is handling a high volume of applications for the one-off £500 payment.

Ineligible applications currently account for around half of all applications, which is causing a delay in processing applications and making payments to residents who qualify for this support.

Coun Vicky McGurk, executive member for finance at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Due to the large numbers of people applying for the self-isolation support payment, it’s currently taking the team around eight working days to process applications, from receipt to decision.

“We’re keen to make sure that residents self-isolating due to Covid who are eligible for the support get a decision and their payment as swiftly as possible.

“If residents can check the criteria for the Covid self-isolation support payment before they apply, this would help.”

In Blackburn with Darwen, over 3,500 residents have benefited from this payment, to compensate for loss on earnings while self-isolating.

The £500 self-isolation support payment was introduced in September 2020 to help people on low incomes who cannot work from home while self-isolating and who may lose income as a result.

To get the payment you:

• must have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace

• must have responded to messages received from NHS Test &Trace which ask you to provide your contact details and details of where you have tested positive, plus details of your close-contacts

• must have a valid 8 digit Test & Trace ID number (starting with z or Z)

• must be employed or self-employed

• must be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and

• must be currently receiving one of the following benefits:

- Universal Credit

- Working Tax Credit

- income-based Employment and Support allowance

- income-based Jobseeker’s allowance

- Income support

- Housing benefit

- Pension credit

• must not be exempt from self-isolating rules

• and must complete your self-isolation period.

Anyone who does not meet these criteria is asked not to apply.

Despite the temporary change to PCR testing which came into effect on 11 January, anyone who tests positive for Covid on a rapid / lateral flow test and who plans to apply for the self-isolation support payment still needs to take a PCR test to confirm their positive result.

Find out more about the self-isolation support payment and apply online: