Families of social workers who die from coronavirus in course of duty to receive £60,000

Life assurance scheme - which will last for the duration of the pandemic - follows death of a second social worker from suspected Covid-19

Flaming candles at the funeral ceremony indoor
Photo: castenoid/Adobe Stock

Bereaved families of frontline social workers who die from coronavirus in the course of their duties during the pandemic will receive a payment of £60,000, the government has announced.

The government-funded life assurance scheme, unveiled yesterday by health secretary Matt Hancock, follows the death last week from suspected Covid-19 of a children’s social worker in Birmingham, Muhammad Islam. He is the second social worker reported to have died from the illness.

The payments will be made to bereaved families of local authority frontline social workers, care workers for publicly-funded residential or domiciliary care providers, as well as personal assistants employed by people receiving public funds for care and support.

“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,” said Hancock.

Employers will initiate claims on behalf of the practitioners’ families and claims will be verified and processed by the NHS Business Services Authority. It applies to deaths occurring from 25 March onwards – though it will be possible to make claims for deaths before that point – and will last for the duration of the pandemic, with Hancock giving notice on the scheme when it is deemed to be over.

There will be a minute’s silence today (Tuesday 28 April) at 11am to honour key workers who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. 

4 Responses to Families of social workers who die from coronavirus in course of duty to receive £60,000

  1. Jim Greer April 28, 2020 at 9:37 pm #

    This feels like blood money or a cynical attempt to stave off large scale legal actions. What NHS and social services staff want and need is adequate PPE. The Government have badly let them down by missing opportunities to order adequate PPE both before the pandemic and in its early stages.

  2. Late Night Worker April 28, 2020 at 9:56 pm #

    I think a very cynical view -which would deter away from the nobleness of this government’s gesture- might point at the likeliness that there will be Court activity in relation to compensation challenges. The field is getting ripe: emerging debates about PPE, lateness of provision to frontline staff, mass swabing, cross- national sharing of epidemiology info…all this means interpretations and frustrations. So by generously handing out 60k to bereaved families, Bojo ‘n the Gang are hoping to emotionally dissuade resenting people to demand reparatory justice.

  3. Jane Templeton April 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

    Of course this is only offered to workers directly employed by local authorities and the nhs. Should my colleague from Peru employed by a ‘service’ company on a private contract who has been cleaning my desk and my office with gloves and mask he bought from Poundland because his employer isn’t providing these will get nothing if he was infected and died. So proud that we are in this together.

  4. Kimberly McG May 6, 2020 at 9:24 pm #

    Social workers are not being cared for or even considered at this time. I am not minimising the fact that one death is one too many but I must state that I am highly doubtful that there have only been two social workers who have died from COVID-19. Given that social workers without PPE routinely visit multiple houses per a day, hot desk and hold many meetings with various professionals it seems grossly illogical that we have one of the lowest death rates amongst key workers. May I add that 60,000 is an insult! Social workers are not war hero’s, we did not sign up for a job that involved risk of life and we are still being overlooked. That small fee is simply hush money.

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