Support with self-isolating / shielding

COVID-19 Highest Risk List (previously called shielding)

The Highest Risk List will end on 31 May 2022. This is after a careful review of the scientific evidence that’s emerged over the last two years. It’s also because the vaccination programme has significantly reduced the risk for the majority of people on the list, and new medicines are now available to treat Covid-19. 

You can read the evidence for this decision on the Scottish Government website.

Your GP or specialist clinician is the best person to advise you about your own condition and treatments. Please speak to them if you have any questions about managing your Covid-19 risk.

Some people who were on the Highest Risk List will still be eligible for certain vaccines and treatments and the ending of the List will not affect this. Find out more on the NHS Inform website

Distance Aware Scheme

Distance Aware is a Scottish Government scheme to prompt people to take extra care around those who would appreciate it, including keeping their distance. If you decide this is something that might help you feel more confident and comfortable in public spaces, you can wear a badge or lanyard with the Distance Aware logo to show others you would like them to give you extra space and take extra care around you. These are not designed to show who is on the Highest Risk List. It’s completely voluntary – it’s up to you whether you would like to wear the Distance Aware symbol. From 26 January 2022, you can get a Distance Aware badge or lanyard in 3 ways:

  • Collect a free badge or lanyard from all community and mobile libraries across Scotland
  • Collect a free badge from most Asda stores
  • Order a badge or lanyard from some charities free or for a small charge via the Scottish Government website.  

Support with mental health and wellbeing

If you’re struggling, remember you can always talk to your GP, someone else in your GP practice, or someone in your clinical team. There’s also useful information on the NHS Inform website

Clear Your Head has more information to help you cope and advice on how you can support other people who you think might be struggling

If you need to talk to someone, you can call these free services:

NHS 24: call 111 if you need urgent support for your mental or emotional health. Open 24 hours a day

Breathing Space: call 0800 83 85 87 for a free, confidential, phone service for anyone in Scotland over 16. If you’re experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety, Breathing Space provides a safe and supportive space, listening, offering advice and providing information. Open Monday to Thursday: 6pm - 2am and Friday to Monday: 6pm - 6am

Samaritans: call 116 123 for confidential emotional support if you're in distress or despair. Open 24 hours a day

British Red Cross Coronavirus Helpline: call 0808 196 3651 if you're feeling lonely, worried, or are having difficulty accessing food or medication. Support is available in more than 200 languages. Open every day from 10am - 6pm

New support service: Connecting with You

Connecting with You is a free service run by the British Red Cross. It’s available to all people aged 18 or over in Scotland who are experiencing issues associated with loneliness. We know being on the Highest Risk List may have meant you’ve experienced loneliness or difficulty keeping up your connections. Connecting with You aims to help you rebuild your independence. Contact the British Red Cross by phone on 0300 30 36 077 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. Calls are free) or by email at connecting-withyou@redcross.org.uk

Self-isolation Support Grants

The Scottish Welfare Fund Team delivers Self-Isolation Support Grants (SISG) on behalf of the Scottish Government for the residents of East Lothian. 

From 1 May 2022, there is no longer be a requirement to self-isolate, instead the rules have changed to "advice to stay at home" and only those with a positive PCR test qualify for a payment, if they satisfy all other criteria.

Anyone advised to stay at home from 1 May 2022 due to a positive PCR test and who meets the other eligibility criteria will be awarded £225. Applicants can only receive the grant three times in any 12 month period.

You may be eligible for a £225 payment if you meet the following criteria:

  • You test positive for Coronavirus following a PCR test
  • You are a parent or carer of child/ren or adult needing care, where the child/ren or adult they care for is positive for coronavirus following a PCR test AND
  • You have been advised to stay at home by NHS Test & Protect OR
  • You are the identified appropriate parent or primary carer of a child under 16 who has tested positive and who has been advised to stay at home OR
  • You are the carer of a person over the age of 16 who has tested positive and who has been advised to stay at home.

A positive PCR test result and the requirement to self-isolate will be verified with the Test & Protect Service and we will NOT be able to process your application if we cannot verify this.

Giving Test and Protect permission to share information

You'll also need to allow Test and Protect to share your information with your local council. We cannot process your application until you do this.

To allow Test and Protect to share your details, you can either:

phone the national helpline on 0800 030 8012 - tell them that you agree Test and Protect can share your details with your local council OR

Reply to a Test and Protect text message with your postcode - they'll text back asking you to agree to share your details with the local council

In addition, you must:

  • make an application within 28 days of the day that you are required to self-isolate
  • are employed or self-employed and unable to work from home
  • will face reduced earnings as a result of self-isolating
  • in receipt of at least one of the following benefits:
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income based Employment and Support allowance
  • Income based Job seekers allowance
  • Income support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit
  • Means-tested Council Tax Reduction or
  • are an individual who earns less than the £1608.75 gross per month or
  • your household income is such that it falls within the agreed definition of ‘low income’ for your household type

Applications for support are for single applicants. Any other applications for those within the same household must be made separately and individually. 

Before you apply, please ensure you have the information in this list:

  • a bank statement
  • your national insurance number
  • proof of low income if you do not claim benefits
  • proof of employment or self-employment

If you are eligible we will pay the £225 into your bank account. 

How to apply

Before making an application please check that you are eligible on the Scottish Government website.

You must have a positive PCR result in order to be eligible, you can book a home test kit.

If you meet these criteria and wish to apply, please apply online for a self-isolation support grant

Self-isolation payments are taxable. If you're employed, you'll pay tax on the payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment. If you're self-employed you must report the payment on your Self-Assessment tax return.an EH41 3HA.