UNISON frustration over care workers compensation scheme


In recent months, many thousands of social care workers across the country have faced the deadly Coronavirus. In July it was estimated that 540 workers in the NHS and social care, had died following exposure to the virus at work. On 20th May this year, the government launched a special compensation scheme for bereaved families – The NHS & Social Care Assurance Scheme. The government Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, said he felt “a deep personal sense of duty” to the families of all health and care workers who he said had paid “the ultimate price”. The government scheme aims to provide a £60,000 compensation payment to bereaved families in England (separate schemes will apply elsewhere in the UK).


Bereavement due to Covid-19 is tragic, but for many families, the financial impact can be just as devastating. UNISON has raised concerns that little has been done to publicise the compensation scheme or ensure that applications are processed quickly. In July only 52 applications had been made, out of these only 19 applications had been processed and approved (none had been rejected).


According to the rules of the scheme:

  • Covid-19 must have been a cause of death.
  • The individual must have contracted coronavirus in the course of their work.
  • They must have been exposed to a “high risk” of contracting the virus during their work, which could not reasonably be avoided.


Application forms and further information can be found at:



A special UNISON factsheet about the NHS and Coronavirus Assurance Scheme is available via the Bolton Unison website: