Toggle menu

COVID-19 Direct Payments

COVID-19 Large Promotional Banner

Updated 21 April 2021

Contents


What impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on Direct Payments, what to do if you have a personal assistant (PA), how you can use Direct Payments to buy personal protection equipment and to prioritise essential tasks.

Call the Plymouth City Council or Devon CCG Personal Health Budget Team if you cannot get support due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and you do not have any other support network, which means you have no care today or tonight.

7 things you need to know about Direct Payments

  1. Direct payments should continue as before
  2. Open communication is very important
  3. The government expects direct payments to be used as flexibly as possible to manage any issues arising from COVID-19
  4. All personal care assistants are considered key workers
  5. Everybody with symptoms, including unpaid carers and personal care assistants, can get a test
  6. All direct payment holders can self-refer for testing if they're displaying symptoms
  7. Anybody providing direct payment holders with care and support must get the PPE they need

Guidance on using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: the most important things to know - GOV.UK

Guidance for people receiving direct payments - GOV.UK


Direct payments funding pay dates 

  • We will make sure that your payments continue to be paid on your regular payment dates.

Frequently asked questions

Question

Answer

Is my PA classed as a critical worker?

YES

What if my PA is challenged on her way to visit me?

The PA should explain that they are classed as a critical worker.  The Direct Payment employer should contact Enham (Support Service Provider) if their PA requires a critical worker letter.

My PA is sick and can't work

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £120per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is sick and self-isolating

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £120per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is not sick but is self-isolating

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £120per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is not sick and able to work but I am self-isolating

The PA must be paid their contracted hours

You and your PA must follow the Health and Safety new rules and procedures very seriously and implement them based on government guidance. This is for yours and their protection as well as reducing the risk of infection to other people

Where the PA has capacity to support other vulnerable people, the PA should contact Plymouth City Council on 01752 668000

My PA is not sick but has children at home

The PA is classed as a critical worker.  You should follow the government advice and liaise with the school directly.

My PA can work and I am not self-isolating

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                              

If your PA can work, they should carry on fulfilling their caring duties.

You and your PA must follow the Health and Safety new rules and procedures very seriously and implement them based on government guidance. This is for yours and their protection as well as reducing the risk of infection to other people.

My PA is going abroad or has just returned from abroad. What should I do?

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. Please refer to the GOV.UK website for further information.

IMPORTANT:

If you feel it is safer for your PA to self-isolate, even though they haven't displayed any symptoms, you will need to pay their contracted hours

 


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Using Direct Payment to buy additional personal protection equipment or prioritise essential tasks at home

Personal protection equipment (PPE) can be:

  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Sanitiser gel
  • Aprons

Normally employers must ensure their employees are adequately protected, but with PPE in short supply, we request that Direct Payment Recipients contact Plymouth City Council if they have any concerns regarding the funding of PPE.  

If you need to stay home because of self-isolation, you can use Direct Payment funding in a more flexible way to prioritise essential tasks like:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Hygienic cleaning
  • Clothes washing
  • Food preparation

PPE Use

Employer Responsibility

  • You must ensure that employee(s)' are adequately protected with PPE as per the government and Public Health England guidance.

Access to PPE

Employers should ensure that the necessary PPE is available for their PA's to use.  Refer issues with access to  PPE to Enham, the support service provider, and issues with funding to Plymouth City Council.

PPE Disposal

  • It is essential that PPE is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. It should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin
  • PHE's guidance on laundry and waste disposal

PPE Guidance

 


Prevention and infection control

General Control Measures

  • How to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Personal assistants and care workers should follow Advice on appropriate hand hygiene
  • Increased cleaning activity: use the usual household products such as detergents and bleach because these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly
  • Keep the property ventilated by opening windows whenever safe
  • Face coverings: face coverings are not classified as PPE. Face coverings are instead largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of the virus. Please refer to When to wear one and how to make your own for more information. 
  • Stay Alert/Stay Safe
  • Face coverings or PPE should not be put in a recycling bin or dropped as litter.  Please dispose in  a 'black bag' waste bin or litter bin Coronavirus (COVID-19): disposing of waste guidance.

Laundry

  • Do not shake laundry items before washing to minimise risk of dispersing the virus through the air
  • All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load
  • Using a laundrette: wait a further 72hrs after the isolation period or household isolation period has ended
  • Heavily soiled items (body fluids, vomit, diarrhoea or items that cannot be washed should be disposed of, with your consent
  • PHE's guidance on laundry and waste disposal

Self-Isolating

  • You may use your Direct Payment funding in a more flexible way to prioritise essential tasks like:
    • Personal hygiene
    • Hygienic cleaning
    • Clothes washing
    • Food preparation

 


Statutory Sick Pay explained

If your Personal Assistant tells you they have symptoms of COVID-19 as described on NHS website, they should stay home or you can send them home. If they earn above the Lower Employment Limit (LEL) statutory sick pay would apply from day one.

If they do not qualify, they can check GOV.UK to see if they can get financial support in the form Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.

The statutory sick pay (SSP) regulations 2020 (coronavirus amendment) came into force Friday 13 March 2020. 


COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing

New campaign urges public to get tested twice a week

Everyone in England is eligible for free rapid COVID-19 tests, twice a week. Updated: COVID-19 getting tested for those who do not have symptoms.

Personal Assistants: Policy change for personal assistants to conduct 2 LFTs (Lateral Flow Tests) a week, and not to test with PCR unless it is for confirmation following a positive LFT.

This service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested.  It helps traces close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive and, if necessary, notifies them they must self-isolate at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Service

Important: Direct Payment Recipients should keep a temporary record of the shift patterns of their PAs for 21 days. If NHS Test and Trace ask for this data, you should provide it to them. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Guidance: Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace


Vaccinations

Personal Assistants are classed as front line health and care workers (Priority Level 2).  If you have not been contacted for an appointment and wish to receive the vaccine please email JointCommissioning@plymouth.gov.uk


Useful guidance and further information

Where to get direct payment help and advice in Plymouth

Enham - Support Service Provider:

Plymouth City Council

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group - Personal Health Budget Team

Additional COVID 19 guidance Plymouth


GOV.UK guidance

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email