£500 Test and Trace Support Payment is open to parents with children isolating because of Covid, says Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis
Parents may be able to claim a £500 government payment if their children are sent home to isolate.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise there are increasing numbers of pupils being sent home from class, to spend 10 days indoors, because they have come into contact with a positive Covid-19 case.
Official Department for Education figures show that around 172,000 children in England alone have had to self-isolate this month - the highest figures since schools returned in March - prompting calls for the bubble system designed to control the spread of Covid among schools and pupils to be overhauled as the vaccination programme continues at pace.
The Department for Education has confirmed this morning it is looking at changing the isolation rules for September - possibly with a regular testing regime - to minimise disruption to pupils and families and to keep students in face-to-face learning next term.
But for families who do find their children back at home around the dining table - and who have to take time off work to look after them - there could be support available from the government's Test and Trace Support Payments scheme.
Designed to help those on a lower incomes when they are required to isolate, money could be available if you’re employed or self-employed, you, or a child you’re the parent or guardian of, have been told to self-isolate due to coronavirus and you cannot work from home and will lose money by having to stay in yourself or be home with child who needs looking after because they're in isolation.
Martin Lewis, founder of website Money Saving Expert, is among those reminding parents who find themselves being called home at short notice, to investigate whether they can claim the £500 payment - which has to be applied for within 42 days of a child's first day of isolation.
Parents taking time off to look after a child in isolation, must also have a youngster who is:
* aged 15 or under
* or aged under 25 if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)
* live with you
* normally be at school or in childcare if it wasn't for isolation rules
* been told to self isolate either by NHS Test and Trace, their school or childcare/nursery provider.
In a message on his social media platforms Martin Lewis, presenting on Good Morning Britain this week, said: "Many children are being sent home by school due to someone in class / year group bubble testing +ve for Covid.
"If so, and you then can't work due to needing to be home with them, this (not just NHS test & trace) can trigger the £500 payment for those on low incomes."
Families must apply for the payment through their local authority and will be expected to provide evidence which may need to include payslips, bank statements and evidence that their child has been told to self isolate. For further information and help click here.