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Special payments of up to £500 for social care Personal Assistants in Northern Ireland

Post Date: 23 March 2022

Social care Personal Assistants in Northern Ireland – who worked during the pandemic – are now able to claim special recognition payments, up to a maximum of £500.

Applications are being handled through a new online portal, launched today (March 23, 2022).

A paper-based application form is also available. Applications will close on June 23, 2020.

Anyone with queries about the new payment can call a dedicated helpline – 0800 170 13 50. This will be available from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The personal assistant workforce are employed directly by disabled people, providing vital support to help them live independently.

Those eligible to receive the recognition payment must have been employed for a continuous four-week period between March 17, 2020 and January 31, 2021, as personal assistants. Eligible people will fall within one of the following categories:

  • personal assistants employed by Independent Living Fund recipients in Northern Ireland;
  • personal assistants employed by the Thalidomide survivors in NI via the Thalidomide Health Grant;
  • personal assistants employed via direct payments from Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCTs); and
  • self-employed personal assistants.

As with recognition payments to other health and social care workers, personal assistants will receive a pro rata payment of up to a maximum of £500, depending on the number of hours they work in an average week.

ILF Scotland is helping to administer the new payments and deliver the helpline in partnership with Scotland Excel, Self-Directed Support Scotland and the NI Department of Health.

NI Health Minister Robin Swann said the scheme acknowledges and thanks health and social care staff for their “immeasurable and vital contribution” throughout the pandemic.

He said: “Personal assistants are a vital part of our health and social care workforce and they have our utmost gratitude. We have developed the online platform so that the process can be as simple, straightforward and as speedily delivered  as possible for applicants.”

Read the NI Department of Health press release here

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