Coronavirus (COVID-19): social care workforce payment – guidance for local authorities

Guidance on the payment process for the social care workforce £500 payment for local authorities who employ staff in adult social care services or children’s residential care, registered with the Care Inspectorate.

Further information for staff

I have more than one social care employer

This is a £500 pro rata payment and the maximum payable is £500. It is your responsibility to make sure that if you work for more than one social care employer and work more than full time, that you do not receive more than the maximum payable of £500.

You should notify one of your employers that you work more than full time and ask for your payment to be reduced from that employer.

You should also notify your employer of any duplicate or excessive payments that you have received.

I have left adult social care or residential childcare

It is the responsibility of staff to contact the employer if they are eligible for the payment to request this. 

If you were employed in adult social care or children’s residential care for a minimum of 4 continuous weeks between 17 March and 30 November 2020 but have since left or retired you are eligible. Payment will be processed as a payment after leaving with tax payable on the full amount and National Insurance payable using the weekly threshold as per Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines. If this does result in an overpayment of tax it is your responsibility to claim this back from HMRC.

Payments cannot be made to staff who were dismissed.

State benefits or tax credits

If you are in receipt of benefits you should get advice about what impact the payment may have on your benefits.

If you receive Universal Credit you need to notify your work coach of the change in circumstances in order to avoid any overpayments which may result in issues with your payment.

If you receive Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be automatically alerted if you if you receive a payment from your employer alongside your salary.

The payment will be treated as earnings for the month it is received and might reduce or stop your Universal Credit award for that month. Your Universal Credit will stop for more than one month if earnings including the payment are more than £2,500 above the level that stops your Universal Credit.

It may also affect future entitlement to Universal Credit.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

It may also affect any benefits that you are entitled to as a result of receiving Universal Credit, such as Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Funeral Support Payment.

If you receive tax credits

The payment will be treated by HMRC as earnings for the tax year 2020/21 and might affect the amount of your tax credits award.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

If you asked HMRC for an increased tax credits award based on estimated lower earnings for the tax year 2020/21, this estimate may be too low when the one-off payment is added to your actual earnings. That could mean an overpayment of tax credits which HMRC would usually require to be repaid.

When you send your tax credits annual review form, or are asked to complete an annual declaration form, you should check that the earnings figure includes this payment, if you receive it.

If you are receiving legacy benefits other than tax credits

If you are receiving other ‘legacy benefits’ your entitlement could be affected. If your entitlement ends as a result, you will not be able to claim these benefits again and will need to claim Universal Credit instead if you still need support.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

Legacy benefits are Housing Benefit (if you are under pension age), Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

If you receive a Council Tax Reduction

If you currently receive a Council Tax Reduction, and have been paid either a lump sum payment or have selected to receive this payment by monthly instalments you should contact your local authority to make them aware of this payment. This will make sure that this payment does not reduce your level of Council Tax Reduction. As your local authority may request verification of the payment you have received, please retain your payslip for this purpose. If you do not tell your local authority your level of Council Tax Reduction may reduce or stop.

Other benefits that may be affected

The following benefits may also be affected:

  • Pension credit
  • Carer’s allowance

If you want to find out more about how this payment may affect your benefits or tax credits, then contact:

My employer has told me that I am not eligible for the £500 payment, how do I make a complaint/ ask for a review of that decision?

When your employer (the local authority) informs you that you are not eligible for the payment, they also will advise you on how to make a complaint and ask the Scottish Government for a review of the decision. 

We would like to draw your attention to this privacy notice, which explains why the Scottish Government needs your personal information for this complaints/ review process, and what we will do with this information.

If you have any other type of complaint about the payment, please email the Scottish Government at:



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