A support fund awarding a £500 payment to low earners who are forced to self-isolate has opened for applications.
The Scottish Government revealed the measure last month to ensure people are not forced to choose between self-isolation and supporting themselves and their families if they come into contact with Covid-19.
Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday that the fund opened for applications on Monday.
Applications can be backdated to September 28.
Delivered through the Scottish Welfare Fund – administered by local authorities – the payment will be targeted at those on Universal Credit or other benefits.
Instructions for applying to the fund will be relayed to people who have been asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect.
Ms Somerville said: “Self-isolation is essential to protect people and reduce the spread of Covid-19 but we do not want people to experience financial hardship, particularly those with no access to public funds, due to a loss of income as a result of doing the right thing.
“Whilst employers should do everything they can to allow people to work from home we know this isn’t always possible so this £500 grant is there to help.
“We know self-isolating can be tough and want to do everything we can to support people throughout this challenging time.”
A new support phone line has also been created for those forced to self-isolate, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
The local self-isolation assistance service will offer an initial 30-minute call, followed by two follow-ups to anyone in a vulnerable group – such as those previously shielding, elderly people or anyone with a disability.
Ms Somerville said: “Our new assistance phone service will proactively contact people who have been asked to self-isolate and direct them to support that they may need, for example access to food or medicines, the self-isolation grant or other financial support they may be eligible for, as well as other local services including community volunteering, emotional support and social work.
“This service will initially focus on those who are on the shielding list, people aged 70-plus, disabled people and people in low-income households.
“We are considering how we roll this service out to further groups to reach even more people and provide support for them to isolate.”