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
Timing and definitions

Timing and definitions

Timetable

  • national application portal opened – 30 June 2021
  • deadline for submission – 25 August 2021
  • payments to be received – 12 July 2021 onwards

Definition of Personal Assistant

Personal Assistants who are

  • directly paid  by a publicly funded care and support recipient /employer

and

  • funded through the Independent Living Fund Scotland and/ or local authority or HSCP Option 1 under the Social Care (Self Directed Support) Act 2013

and

  • for a minimum of a continuous 4-week period between 17 March and 30 November 2020

will be eligible for the payment. 

Eligible individuals include those who were:

  • shielding
  • on sick leave
  • on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • furloughed

They should be treated as though they have been employed for a continuous 4 week period.

Those who have since left their job as a Personal Assistant or retired and who worked at least a 4-week continuous period during the qualifying period are also eligible.

Those who are eligible are those who work:

  • as a Personal Assistant directly paid by the supported person, providing services to the supported person
  • as a Personal Assistant for adults, aged 16 years and over
  • as a member of the shared lives scheme, managed by the Shared Lives Scheme, providing services to the supported person. Separate guidance has been provided for these carers and they will be paid by their Shared lives scheme. They should not apply here.

Individuals who are not eligible include:

  • Personal Assistants who have been summarily dismissed (instant dismissal for gross misconduct)
  • Personal Assistants on career breaks

Full-time staff definition

The payment is capped at £500 and will not exceed this amount, in total.

For eligible Personal Assistants the payment will be based on average hours over the qualifying period between 17 March and 30 November 2020.

For the sole purpose of this fund any staff who worked full-time hours, defined as 30 hours per week or 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.

Multiple employers

If a Personal Assistant is employed by more than one employer and works more than full time, at least 30 hours per week, they should be aware that the maximum amount payable is £500.

Example:

a) If Paul works 15 hours for employer A and 10 hours for employer B, Paul should apply for 25 hours.

b) If Molly works more than full time hours e.g. 42 hours per week, 21 hours for employer A and 21 hours for employer B, she is entitled to one full-time payment of £500 because she meets the threshold for fulltime hours, which is 30 hours per week. Molly should claim for her work of 42 hours and be ready with evidence if requested.

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

Leave and sickness

Eligible individuals include those who were:

  • shielding
  • on sick leave
  • on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • furloughed

They should be treated as though they have been employed for a continuous 4 week period.

Leavers

If a Personal Assistant has since left or retired but was employed in adult social care for a minimum of a continuous 4-week period between 17 March and 30 November 2020 then they are eligible.

If a Personal Assistant would be eligible but has since died, we would invite a personal representative or the executor of the estate to apply in the same manner as outlined in the guidance. Payment can then be made to a personal representative or the executor.

The application form will ask the relative to provide details of any employer worked for during the eligibility dates and the associated FTE.

If a Personal Assistant has since left or retired, if eligible, the former Personal Assistant can apply through the online portal. They will need to provide all of the information outlined in the how to apply section of the guidance.

Tax and benefits

HMRC has confirmed that these payments made to Personal Assistants are regarded as 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 which 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. 

13.8% will be added to each payment for employer National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Anyone in receipt of benefits should seek advice from the DWP.

Payment timescale

The Scottish Government, Scotland Excel, the local authority or ILF Scotland who are managing this process must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that all eligible applicants receive the payment as quickly as possible.

Data management

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 Scotland Excel and Independent Living Fund Scotland corporate records management system and retained by relevant parties for the purposes of internal audit. Once the full PA pathway has ended the data will be retained for a period of three months before being destroyed, except where legislative requirements dictate otherwise as is the case for HMRC records which require to be kept for three years. Read the privacy notice.

Self-declaration

Please read and tick the boxes to acknowledge that you have read and understood the terms and conditions for submitting the form for payment.

As the applicant I confirm that the information I have provided in my application is correct.

Resolution of issues and complaints procedure

The £500 thank you bonus payment is being paid by ILF Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. The payments are made in accordance with the eligibility criteria set by the Scottish Government. If a Personal Assistant is unhappy with the initial determination on the payment this should be reported to PA500@gov.scot for resolution.

We aim to resolve complaints informally within five working days. If they can't resolve the issue, the Personal Assistant can take their complaint to stage two of the complaints procedure.

If the Personal Assistant is not satisfied:

  • email sgcomplaints@gov.scot
  • write to Scottish Government, Complaints, 1E.10, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG

An Investigating Officer will be appointed to prepare a comprehensive report and, where appropriate, will recommend improvements.

We will:

  • acknowledge receipt of the complaint within three working days
  • where appropriate, discuss the complaint with the Personal Assistant to understand why they remain dissatisfied and what outcome they are looking for
  • provide a full response as soon as possible and within 20 working days

We will tell the Personal Assistant if our investigation will take longer and will agree revised time limits with them. After we have fully investigated and the Personal Assistant remains dissatisfied, then they  have the option of asking the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) to investigate their complaint.

Independent investigation of your complaint: ombudsman

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about public services in Scotland and may be able to independently take up a complaint by the Personal Assistant. The Ombudsman will normally only be able to act if they have followed the steps above.

To find out about the Ombudsman's work, visit the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website, or write to the office at: Freepost SPSO (this is all that needs to be written on the envelope, and no stamp is needed).


Contact

Email: PA500@gov.scot

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