Coronavirus – getting benefits if you’re self-isolating
There are benefits and grants you can claim if you have to self-isolate. What you should claim depends on whether you have to stop working to self-isolate.
If you’re not sure, you should check if you have to self-isolate on the Scottish government website.
If you stop working and lose money because you’re self-isolating, you might be able to get:
- a self-isolation support grant from your local council
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer
You should also check if your employer can furlough you if you haven’t already.
Whether you were working or not, you might also be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the government.
You can’t get SSP and ESA at the same time - it’s usually better to get SSP if you can.
You can get a self-isolation support grant at the same time as SSP or ESA.
If you’re a social care worker in Scotland, you might be able to get your normal pay if you’re self-isolating.
If you’re self-employed
You might also be able to claim money from the government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
If you're returning to the UK from abroad
You might need to self-isolate – this is also called 'quarantine'.
You can’t get SSP for being in quarantine. You might be able to get it for other reasons – for example if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
If you're employed, talk to your employer about what you can do while you're in quarantine – ask them if you can:
- work from home
- take annual or unpaid leave – you might be able to get ESA if you have to take unpaid leave
If you're a social care worker
If you're a social care worker and you're self-isolating, you might be able to keep getting your normal pay.
You're a social care worker if you work in the social care sector. For example, you work in:
- a care home
- offender accommodation
- housing support
- someone's own home as a personal assistant.
You'll only get your normal pay if you're self-isolating because you have coronavirus or you're following public health guidance. For example, you're self-isolating because you've been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
Ask your employer to keep paying you your normal pay. They should apply to the Scottish Government's Social Care Staff Support Fund to get the money back.
Find out more about the Social Care Staff Support Fund.
Check if you can get a self-isolation support grant
You might be able to get a payment of £500 from your local council if you’re employed or self-employed and you can’t work from home.
To get the grant you must have been told to self-isolate by the NHS, including through the Protect Scotland app. This must be because:
- you tested positive for coronavirus
- you've been in close contact with someone who tested positive
- you're the parent or carer of a child under 16 who has been told to self-isolate
- you're caring for someone over 16 who has been told to self-isolate.
Check your options if you need to change how you work to care for someone.
If you're told to self-isolate through the app, you can download a certificate on your phone. You can use that certificate as proof when you're claiming self-isolation support or contacting your employer.
You can’t get the grant just because you have to quarantine when you enter the UK from abroad.
You should be able to get the payment if you earn £9.50 an hour or less, or 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
- Council tax reduction because of low income.
If you're not getting any of the benefits, you could still get the payment if your council thinks you would be eligible for Universal Credit or if you’re struggling with your living costs because you can’t work.
You might also be able to get the grant if you’re on a low income and your immigration status means you have no recourse to public funds.
You should apply within 28 days of being told to self-isolate. Find out more and get a link to your local council's website on mygov.scot.
You can get the payment more than once if you have to self-isolate again.
Councils will also phone people who are self-isolating to see if they need a grant or help applying.
If your local council refuses to give you a self-isolation support grant
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.
Check if you can get SSP
You might get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re following government guidance to self-isolate.
You could get SSP if:
- you have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
- someone you live with has coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
- someone in your ‘extended household’ has coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus - check the rules on extended households if you're not sure
- you're self-isolating because the NHS told you that you’ve come into contact with someone who has coronavirus
- you’ve been told to self-isolate before you go into hospital for surgery
- you’re on the shielding list and it’s not safe for you to go to work. Check the shielding guidance on mygov.scot
You can read guidance about self-isolating on NHS inform.
You can check if you can get SSP.
Check if you can get ESA
You might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus. For example, you might be self-isolating because you:
- or someone you live with have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus – or you’re recovering from it
- have a medical condition which makes you ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus – check if you’re extremely vulnerable on NHS inform
- came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
- have been told to quarantine after returning from abroad – check if you have to quarantine on GOV.UK
- will have surgery in the next 14 days
You can also get ESA if your child is self-isolating for one of these reasons.
If you can get ESA, you’ll be paid from the first day you were sick or self-isolating.
You can check if you can get ESA.
You might also be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or not working. Check if you can get Universal Credit.
If you’re already claiming benefits and start claiming Universal Credit, you won't be able to go back to the benefit you were on before. Talk to an adviser before applying for Universal Credit.
If you're struggling to pay your bills
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.