People in Wales who are told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 phone app can now apply for a £500 payment, the Welsh Government has announced.
Until now it has only been available to low-earners who have been asked to isolate by either Test, Trace, Protect or their child’s school.
People need to contact their council to access the scheme .
The Conservatives said it was confusing and said people should be able to have payments backdated.
But the Welsh Government said payments would not be backdated for anyone who had been told to self-isolate by the app before the latest announcement.
People will also have to show evidence their income will be reduced by isolating.
It is available to people who are employed or self-employed and unable to work from home.
The applicant or their partner must be currently receiving universal credit, working tax credit, income-based employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefit or pension credit.
Some will have their application accepted under the discretionary element of Self-Isolation Support Scheme.
People living in Wales and England have been urged to download the contact-tracing app.
NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate if it detects they were near to someone who has the virus.
The Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James said the Welsh Government was “committed to protecting people’s health and well-being”.
“We will continue to support the people of Wales during this difficult time,” she said.
“The £500 payment has already provided financial security to those asked to self-isolate, helping to break the cycle of transmission and ensure no-one has to choose between feeding their family or going to work and potentially spreading the virus.”
She said local authorities had “once again risen to the challenge” of ensuring all those who need financial support throughout receive it while developers amend the process so people can apply for help directly through the app.
Angela Burns, the Welsh Conservative health spokeswoman, criticised the fact that “applications still cannot be backdated to September, meaning people in Wales who need this £500 payment – and who are likely to fall into the financially vulnerable category – cannot access it and are therefore badly disadvantaged”.
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Travel is currently limited to essential purposes in Wales, such as for work and caring responsibilities, and international travel is barred.
But, after a tough year with the pandemic, many people will be dreaming about a holiday in 2021.
While bookings for UK staycations are “coming in thick and fast” , some people are gambling on a foreign trip in the hope restrictions will ease later this year.
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