Test and Trace support payment
From 28 September, if you receive a positive Covid-19 test result or are told by the NHS to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has Covid-19, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum payment.
The Government has announced the new Test and Trace support payment for people on a low income who must self-isolate for 14 days and cannot work from home during this period.
To be eligible for the new Test and Trace Support Payment, you must:
- have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you've tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has. You must have logged into the test and trace system and provided all the information requested.
- Or have been notified by the NHS App that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and been told to self-isolate. You will need to ensure you have downloaded the latest version of the App (4.0 - released 10 December 2020) and clicked on the financial support button, and then followed the instructions. You will need to complete this process before making your application for a self-isolation payment.
- You must also be employed or self-employed
- and be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- and must be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
- and you must apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment during your self-isolation period or within 14 days of the self-isolation period concluding.
Individuals who qualify and who meet the criteria will be entitled to a £500 lump sum payable into their bank account. These payments will be subject to income tax but not National Insurance contributions. If you meet all the criteria with the exception of the qualifying benefit a Discretionary Scheme is also available. Complete the application in the same manner but where prompted provide a reason/s that you will suffer financial hardship as a result of being required to self-isolate.
Important: There is no automatic entitlement to a discretionary test and trace self-isolation payment. The Government have provided each local authority with limited funds and have advised that in order to qualify you must be suffering severe financial hardship as a result of having to self-isolate. This means that you must be able to demonstrate that you have financial commitments you will be unable to meet without the payment, such as mortgage, rent and utility bills, and, one full month's bank statement must be provided to support your application as evidence.
The payments will only be eligible for positive diagnosis from 28 September onwards until the scheme ends on 31 March 2021. Eligible people will be able to claim for each period of self-isolation.
To apply, you must provide:
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number)
- A full month bank statement (showing the account details where the payment will be made)
- proof of employment, or, if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
Failure to supply all of the information requested will result in your application being rejected, we will advise you of any further information we need, and you will be invited to re-apply and provide the missing information.
Please note: We have received a number of applications from people whose employers are not reducing wages if people have to self-isolate. Please check with your employer if this applies to you before you make an application. Any self-isolation test and trace payments made to people who subsequently get full pay will have to be re-paid.
How to apply
We are receiving a high number of applications currently and in many the evidence required to support the application is not being provided. This is delaying decisions as we then need to contact the applicant to collect the information. Please ensure you upload all the information requested with the application. If you are applying for a discretionary payment you must explain what financial hardship you will suffer; simply stating that your income is reduced is not sufficient for us to determine hardship.
Make your application online:
If you require assistance with completing this form, please contact our Benefits team on 01926 456760 (Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm).
Safeguarding Test and Trace support payment
Banks are not allowed to use the test and trace support payment to reduce authorised or unauthorised overdrafts. In order to protect the payment from being used in this way, using what is known as 'first right of appropriation', you must contact your bank with a new instruction. For further guidance on this and to see a sample letter of appropriation letter to your bank please see our guidance on right of appropriation.
More information regarding the scheme is available on the GOV.UK website.