Coronavirus: NHS and Social Care Life Assurance
In May 2020, the National Health Service and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance (England) Scheme 2020 came into effect. The scheme offers a lump sum payment of £60,000 where it can be reasonably concluded that someone’s death was caused by coronavirus and they provided publicly funded hands-on personal care for people who had contracted coronavirus or worked in health or care settings where the virus was present. The lump sum will be paid on top of any death-in-service payments they may have already received through existing arrangements such as the NHS Pension Scheme.
In a statement released shortly after announcing the scheme, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Nothing can make up for the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic. We owe a huge debt to those who die in service to our nation […] Financial worries should be the last thing on the minds of their families so in recognition of these unprecedented circumstances we are expanding financial protection to NHS and social care workers delivering publicly funded care on the frontline.”
Who is covered by the scheme?
The scheme covers frontline NHS staff and social care workers in England. This includes full, part-time or locum NHS and public health workers, including GPs, dentists, retired staff, second and final year students taking up paid frontline roles, cleaners and porters. In terms of social care, it will cover employees of publicly funded care homes, home care, directly employed carers including personal assistants and frontline child and family social workers.
What timeframe does the scheme apply to?
The scheme provides cover for the duration of the pandemic. This is measured as the time period for which the NHS workforce provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are in force (which took effect on 25 March) but claims for deaths occurring before this will be considered.
What is the process for making a claim?
Employers are asked to work with the family and/or lawyer acting on behalf of the estate to initiate the claim. A claim form has to be submitted together with a death certificate and a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. Claims will then be verified and processed by the NHS Business Services Authority.
If you require assistance with obtaining a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration to proceed with the claim under the scheme, or need help with any other element of administering an estate, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or another lawyer in our Tax and Estate Planning team. We can be contacted via our website, email or telephone. We are here for you.
Article written by Bekka Fuszard TEP, 04 June 2020