Doncaster Council turned down more than half of Covid-19 £500 self-isolation claim applications

More than half of applicants submitting requests for Covid-19 isolation payments have been turned down by Doncaster Council.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 12:48 pm

Figures on the latest fraud action work by council officials revealed that 3,380 people in Doncaster were paid the £500 self-isolation payments set up by central government in order to help people pay bills during their time off work due to Covid-19. This totalled just under £1.7 million

But figures show that 8,727 people applied for the £500 Covid-19 self-isolation payment. This equates to a rejection rate of 61 per cent.

Council bosses said that 1,727 did not meet the criteria a further 3,556 did so but were rejected. A further 70 as of the end of November are under consideration.

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DMBC officials said ‘as much information as possible’ was being verified prior to payment in order to ‘prevent fraudulent applications’ from being processed.

In addition, a further 10 per cent of claims were sample checked after being paid in order to detect fraud and error.

As part of the Covid-19 pandemic effort, the Government released payments of £500 to help those who were told to self-isolate, were therefore unable to work and would lose income as a direct result of self-isolating.

The payments were also in place to support individuals forced to take similar time off to look after self-isolating dependents. The council processed these payments on the Government’s behalf.Nicola Frost-Wilson, internal audit manager at DMBC, said: “Applications rejected contain applications that were rejected on initial vetting and were rejected for reasons such as, not self-isolating, not being in work or not being told to isolate by Test and Trace.

“Refused applications are those refused after further investigation and are refused for reasons such as exceeding the required earnings threshold, that they have not actually lost any earnings as a result of self-isolating or where they are unable to provide a valid NHS number to validate.

“Sample checking is still ongoing as at the date of this report as these self-isolation payments are still being made and will continue to be paid until at least the end of March, 2022.

“Our continued sampling is designed to ensure that our arrangements remain robust.