A new payment option will be added to the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales after users were unable to access financial support following an automated self-isolation notification.
The UK government is currently offering a £500 grant to low-income earners who are told to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
While those contacted by NHS Test and Trace have been able to apply for the payment, privacy safeguards have made it much more difficult for those who have been notified via the mobile app.
“Many people will be astonished to find that people using the Covid-19 app can’t access support to self-isolate – even if they’re eligible for the payment,” Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said last week.
Fortunately, the version 4 update of the contact tracing app for England and Wales will address the issue when it rolls out in the near future.
Getting the system working correctly is important for the government as it wants to encourage app users to follow self-isolation guidance during the festive period.
The financial incentive should ease the concerns of low-income workers who face an “impossible choice”, according to Citizens Advice, as spending 14 days at home can lead to a notable drop-off in income.
The app was also updated last week to show users the new tiered policy for restrictions in their local authority.
There is also speculation that vaccination records could be added to the app, with the first round of vaccine shots set to be administered as early as this week.