A special online portal has been launched to ensure eligible social care Personal Assistants receive a £500 “thank you” payment in recognition of their work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Personal Assistants are employed directly by disabled people, for whom they provide vital support to enable them to live independently. They are the last remaining group to receive the Scottish Government bonus payment for health and social care workers, which was announced in November 2020.
Unlike other social care workers, Personal Assistants are not registered with the Scottish Social Services Council, and the services they provide are not registered with the Care Inspectorate. This has made engagement with this workforce particularly challenging and is why this bespoke application process has been developed.
A dedicated helpline to support applicants, including access to paper applications, can be contacted on 0800 841 1321 on Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.30pm. The portal will be active for eight weeks and closes midnight on Wednesday 25 August.
As with 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.
Chair of the Integration Joint Board Issy Grieve said: “The importance of Personal Assistants within the wider social care workforce has only been made more visible during the pandemic. Along with the rest of our health and social care workers, they deserve the thanks of the whole country.
“Personal Assistants and their employers are a unique part of the social care setting, and I would encourage all those eligible in Orkney to fill in an application form to access the bonus payment to which they are entitled. Hopefully the bespoke portal will enable this key group of workers to access the payments they deserve.”
A Personal Assistant (PA) is eligible if they are directly paid by an employer who receives funds to employ staff from Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland through their fund or from a Local Authority or Health and Social Care Partnership through Option 1 Social Care (Self Directed Support) Act 2013, and also if they are PA to an adult and were paid to be their PA over a continuous 4-week period between 17 March 2020 and 30 November 2020; this being the qualifying period.