Coronavirus: Carer denied isolation help 'as she was just paid'

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Janice Simons said the denial of support has left her unable to buy Christmas presents

A carer on a zero-hour contract who caught coronavirus has said she was denied support while self-isolating.

Janice Simons contracted the virus at the start of November and applied for a support payment of £500.

Ms Simons, from Cosby, Leicestershire, said because she had just been paid, she was judged to have too much money in the bank.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it did not comment on individual cases.

Ms Simons, who is on a zero-hour contract, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "What is the point in the nation clapping for carers if they are then fed [to] the wolves when they most need the help?"

She said she had limited contact with her daughter and granddaughter, who live nearby, to protect those she cares for.

"All my hard work this year, the hardest year of my working life... has been thrown back in my face," she added.

"I [can't] even afford to buy Christmas presents."

The one-off £500 grant can be paid to those on low incomes, those unable to work from home or to somebody told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Eligible applicants will receive the payment on top of statutory sick pay and benefits they receive, according to the government.

Ms Simons said when she asked why her application was refused, she was told it was because of the money in her bank.

She said her wage covers her bills and mortgage, but next month it will be "£0" and says she "can't survive" on the £95-a-week sick pay.

She added: "If I'd have fallen ill at the end of the month instead of at the start, I might have received the payment.

"The system is a disgrace and it's failed me."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Self-isolation is vital to stop the spread of the virus, and a range of support is in place for those on a low income.

"Those who aren't eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment can apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances."

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