COMMUNITIES Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has enhanced the existing Covid-19 self-isolation grant, increasing the daily allowance payable and extending the number of days for which an award can be made.
The Department’s Finance Support Service has been providing immediate financial assistance through Discretionary Support grants and loans since March 2020 when the then Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey introduced enhancements to the scheme to support people on low incomes affected by the pandemic.
The non-repayable Discretionary Support Self-Isolation Grant assists with short-term living expenses where a person on a low income, or any member of their immediate family, is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is advised to self-isolate in accordance with guidance published by the Public Health Agency.
The Minister said: “I am determined to do all I can to help people who are diagnosed with Covid-19 or are advised to self-isolate.
“After reviewing the support already available, I am increasing the daily amount that can be paid through the Discretionary Support Self-Isolation Grant as well as providing more flexibility for awards to be paid for longer periods.
“These changes will support people on low incomes who are facing a reduction in their pay because they have tested positive or they have been told to self-isolate.
“The support available through this non-repayable tax-free grant is not available in other jurisdictions and ensures that greater numbers of people here will get the financial support they need, when they need it.”
The financial support available will vary according to the period of financial need and individual circumstances.
The Department has also worked closely with the Department of Health to promote the availability of the Discretionary Support Self-Isolation grant as part of their StopCOVID proximity App to ensure that people on low incomes are alerted to the financial help available as early as possible.
To check out if you are eligible and apply for the Discretionary Support Self-Isolation grant go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/extra-financial-support or telephone (Freephone 0800 587 2750). There is also a dedicated urgent referral service to allow the Advice Sector to escalate claims for urgent attention.