Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - social care workforce £500 payment: guidance for personal assistants

Published: 29 Jun 2021
Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for the Personal Assistant (PA) of a supported person, who is within adult social care, about the one-off pro rata payment for lifesavers and caregivers on the frontline throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - social care workforce £500 payment: guidance for personal assistants
More information

More information relating to the £500 payment for Personal Assistants (PAs)

Eligibility

How to find out if you are eligible

Full eligibility details are outlined in the eligibility section of the guidance.

The maximum you can receive is £500 and you only receive the maximum if you work full time.

Claim process for those that have left PA jobs or have retired

PAs who have left their work or retired are eligible where they were paid directly by the care/support recipient, funded by ILF Scotland through their fund, or a Local Authority through Option 1 under the Social Care (Self Directed Support) Act 2013, over a continuous 4-week period between 17 March 2020 and 30 November 2020; this is the qualifying period.

This is what you need to provide:

  • your name
  • your home address
  • your date of birth
  • your National Insurance number
  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • your bank account number, sort code and full name of account holder
  • your email address
  • your phone number
  • confirm if you are registered as male or female with HMRC, this is required to connect your tax information
  • details of any other health and social care £500 bonus you may have received
  • your current employment status, and if applicable, any student loan repayments

Also:

  • the full name and address of the care and support recipient
  • the local authority where the care/support recipient you work for, lives
  • if your care/support recipient(s) is/are funded by ILF Scotland
  • if the care/support recipient/s whom you work for is/are funded by their local authority
  • the hours you worked during a continuous 4-week period between 17 March 2020 and 30 November 2020, and how frequently you were paid
  • if you were employed full time or part-time during the claim period

PAs who work with children

PAs working with children under the age of 16 are not eligible.

These payments focus on services and support at the frontline of the COVID-19 trauma response and caring for people who are at greatest risk of being severely ill from COVID-19, including adult social care and residential childcare.

The Scottish Government feels immense gratitude for the continued work of childcare professionals to support children and families during the pandemic period and for all they do to give Scotland’s children the best possible start in life.

Age limit for receiving payment

There is no age limit on the PA making a claim.

Shared Lives carers

A guidance letter will be issued to all Shared Lives carers by their Shared Lives scheme managers regarding eligibility and payment.

The Shared Lives scheme, as registered with the Care Inspectorate as an “Adult Placement Service”, is a service for adults aged 16 and over. Shared Lives schemes recruit people living in the community and approve them as Shared Lives carers. These Shared Lives carers provide care and support to vulnerable people whilst sharing their home and family life. The definition of an Adult Placement Service is set out in Schedule 12 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

If you are a Shared Lives scheme manager, please contact your Shared Lives carers as soon as possible to provide them with information about the intended payment. 

Process and timeline

Process for PAs to receive the £500 bonus

You should complete the application portal, for payment of the £500 pro rata payment.

Full details are included in the how to apply section of the guidance.

A dedicated helpline has been set up for PAs who are not able to complete the application online. Please call 0800 841 1321 if you need support with your application.

Working for several employers

You apply once with all your PA work. You can add details of your work for up to five care/support recipients using the online application. If you supported  more than five care/support recipients during the claim period, please call the helpline on 0800 841 1321 to discuss.

Working more than full time

If you have already received your thank you payment from another employer, you should not claim any further payment.

It is your responsibility to make sure that, when you have more than one employer and work more than full time, the maximum you receive will be £500. 

Full-time or part-time PA work

  • full-time staff definition: any staff who worked full-time hours ( for the sole purpose of this fund this is defined as 30 hours per week and above), should receive the full £500
  • part-time staff definition: Personal assistants should choose a suitable 4 week period within the qualifying period between 17 March and 30 November. Please record which weeks were used. Further information about the weeks worked may be required for audit purposes.
  • the calculation for part-time staff is based on a calculation of the pro rata determined by hours worked over the qualifying period as a percentage of a full time week, defined as 30 hours per week
  • the portal will make this calculation
  • it should exclude “weeks not worked” due to leave (annual, sickness, parental or otherwise) or because they were not in post at this time

It is the responsibility of the PA to only to apply for the hours for which you are eligible, up to £500, and to declare any other £500 bonus payments received from other health and social care work.

Calculating average hours

The online portal will calculate the average hours for you. If you make a paper application, the average hours will be worked out for you.

Annual leave during the qualifying period

PAs are requested to exclude “weeks not worked” due to leave (annual, sickness, parental, shielding or furloughed or otherwise) or because they were not in post during this period.

For PAs who meet the eligibility criteria it is at their discretion to use a suitable 4 week period.

Care/support recipients who have since died

Complete the application form with all the details including the name of your care/support recipient who has died. We can only consider your case once you have provided the detail.

Change of status for care/support recipient

If your care/support recipient was in receipt of SDS option 1 or ILFS funds during the qualifying period but is not in receipt of them now then you should complete the application form with the name of your care/support recipient r. We can only consider a case once you have provided the detail.

PA payments for self-funding care/support recipients

You are not eligible unless the funds to pay your payment come from option 1 of SDS or ILFS.

Tax and benefits

The payment is taxable. HMRC has confirmed that these payments made to staff and PAs are considered earnings and will be liable for tax, National Insurance contributions, student loan repayments, and tax credits, where appropriate.

The DWP has confirmed that the payment will be treated as income when calculating benefit entitlements. The ability to exempt the payment from benefit calculations is not within the current powers of the Scottish Government.  Recipients who are in receipt of Universal Credit would need to notify their work coach of the change in their circumstances in order to avoid any overpayments that may result in issues with their payment.

These payments will be fully disregarded in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction.

The payment is considered as “non-consolidated”. Therefore it is not pensionable and does not create a new baseline for future pay calculations. 

Amount of payment

You will not be paid the full amount of the £500 pro rata payment as there will be deductions made for tax and NIC. You will therefore be paid the net amount following these deductions. The payment agent will follow the advice from HMRC.

Payment method

After checks have been made to ensure that you are eligible, you will be paid a net amount into your bank account.

Payment in instalments

You will be given the option to take the payment in instalments over three months. Should you feel the need to consult your DWP Work Coach with regards to the effect on the benefits, it is best to do so before applying. 

General

Failure to meet the deadline

The online portal will be open from 30 June until midnight on 25 August 2021. Once this portal is closed, the applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Overpayment

It is the responsibility of you as the PA only to apply for the amount for which you are eligible, up to £500 and to declare any other payments received from other health and social care work. If you subsequently discover you have been paid more than the maximum £500, you should contact PA500@gov.scot with the details.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) process

Each organisation which is party to this process is responsible for ensuring the data they collect and retain complies with the relevant General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and any other relevant Data Protection legislation.

Scotland Excel will collect and retain personal data – setting out the number of Personal Assistants and employers, and their FTE. Detail of the employer will be shared with the local authority or Independent Living Fund Scotland for verification purposes. Data will be shared with ILF Scotland for payment purposes.

The application and associated documents will be kept securely within our corporate records management system and retained by relevant parties for the purposes of internal audit. Once the full PA pathway has ended their data will be retained for a period of three months before being destroyed, unless legislative requirements dictate otherwise.


Contact

Email: PA500@gov.scot

First published: 29 Jun 2021 Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 -