People on low incomes who have coronavirus or have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service are now able to apply for a £500 payment, the Welsh Government have said.
The new self-isolation payment scheme has been designed to encourage people to stay-at-home by removing any financial barriers to self-isolating.
The scheme is open to anyone receiving Universal Credit and other specified benefits, who has to self-isolate because they have coronavirus or have been told to by Test Trace Protect.
There will also be a discretionary element for those who do not meet the criteria but who face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The self-isolation scheme will help anyone who faces the choice of staying at home and not being able being able to feed their family or going to work and potentially spreading coronavirus. This is a difficult decision which no one should have to make.
“If we are going to keep coronavirus under control in Wales – we all need to work together. This means staying at home and self-isolating if we have symptoms of coronavirus or if we are advised to because we have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
“Our first line of defence against the virus is each one of us. This payment will help everyone to play their part in the national effort we need to respond to this pandemic.”
A new top-up payment has also been introduced for people working in social care, to raise statutory sick pay to the level of their normal wages if they have to take time off because of coronavirus or because they have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
The two schemes are being funded by £32m from the Welsh Government.
People will be able to apply for the self-isolation payment via their local authority website from today and payments will be backdated to October 23.
Councillor Anthony Hunt from Welsh Local Government Association said: “Councils in Wales have been at the forefront in supporting residents and businesses through this pandemic.
“Setting up these schemes in short order has been challenging so it is important we worked with Welsh Government on the delivery. We are pleased that local authorities will be given discretionary funding to allow them to support people who fall outside the main scheme.
“Local authorities have been instrumental in responding to the pandemic and are best placed to understand the challenges faced by our local communities.”