Bereaved families of frontline health and care staff to get £60,000
The death in service benefit will apply to eligible frontline NHS and adult and children’s social care staff in England during the coronavirus pandemic.
Funding will also be provided to support similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock said the scheme recognises the increased risk faced by staff during this crisis.
Bereaved family members will receive a £60,000 lump sum worth roughly twice the average pensionable pay for NHS staff, with the cost met by the government.
It will cover full, part-time or locum NHS and public health workers, including GPs, dentists, retired staff and second and final year students taking up paid frontline roles.
Within social care, the scheme will cover employees of publicly funded care homes, home care, directly employed carers including personal assistants and frontline child and family social workers.
It will also cover cleaners and porters who continue to carry out vital duties in these care environments.
‘Financial worries should be the last thing on the minds of families’
Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, 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 and are doing everything we can to protect them.
“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.
“We will continue to strive night and day to provide them with the support and protection they need and deserve to keep them safe as they work tirelessly to save lives.”
Employers will be asked to initiate claims on behalf of the individual’s families and claims will be verified and processed by the NHS Business Services Authority, which will work with employers to ensure claims are handled swiftly and sensitively.
While the scheme is time-limited from 25 March and for the duration of the pandemic, the government said claims for deaths occurring before this will be considered.