There are two Test and Trace Payment Schemes:
- Main Scheme Payments of £500; and
- Discretionary Scheme Payments of £500.
Who can apply for a Main Scheme Payment?
You can apply for a self-isolation payment if you are aged 16 or over and you:
- have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you’ve tested positive or are the close contact of a positive case and
- are employed or self-employed and
- are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
You also need to be currently receiving one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income support
- Housing benefit
- Pension credit.
You may be eligible for a £500 Discretionary Scheme Payment if you meet all of the main eligibility criteria relating to self-isolating under COVID-19 arrangements but haven't claimed or received one of the nominated Social Security benefits including Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, Income based Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.
To decide if you are eligible to a Discretionary Scheme Payment, the form will ask you two additional questions:
- Will you face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst self isolating?
- If yes, please provide details of the financial hardship that you will face and upload evidence in support of this statement.
You must agree to comply with the notification received from NHS Test and Trace and self isolate in all instances.
The government has made clear you will only be eligible for the £500 payment if you have been told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
What about if I have symptoms, but haven't tested positive?
You will only get this payment if you have either tested positive for coronavirus, or are close contacts of someone who tested positive.
How much is the payment?
You may be supported by a lump sum payment of £500. Payments must be made into a bank account.
Will this payment be taxed?
This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.
How long will this be in place for?
The scheme will run until 31st March 2021.
When did this come into force and how long will it be in place?
The scheme has been running since 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. Anyone directed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace after that date should follow the link below to see the eligibility rules to check if they are entitled and make an application.
The scheme was scheduled to run to 31st January 2021 but with a further ‘national lockdown’ having been announced on 4th January 2021 has been extended now to run till 31st March 2021.
How do I apply?You will need to apply online and submit supporting evidence (see below). Apply online here.
We will deliver the payments and administer the system, according to the government guidance and payments will be credited directly into your bank account.
What evidence will I need to show?
The government says you will need to show four pieces of evidence when you apply:
- A notification from test and trace asking you to self-isolate (including a Unique ID number)
- A bank statement for the account you wish the funds to be credited to
- Proof of employment
- Confirmation from your employer that you are unable to work from home - or if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns for example.
Can more than one application be made?People from the same household can make individual applications if they each meet the eligibility criteria.
Applicants can claim for each period of self-isolation as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and as long as their periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
Eligible individuals can make a claim up to 14 days after the period of self-isolation has ended.
Applicants can apply on behalf of someone else; however, the £500 support payment can only be paid to the bank account of the person for whom the application is made.
The support payment can only be made to those people who have a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to stay at home and self-isolate. The scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad.
The Council reserves the right to vary the terms of the scheme at any time, and without notice, should it be necessary to do so.
The application process
An online application or telephone application must be completed. Applicants must provide:
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate;
- proof of receipt of one of the qualifying benefits; or
- proof that one of the qualifying benefits is being assessed;
- a bank statement in the name of the applicant;
- proof of employment or evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that their business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
Payments of £500 will be credited directly to the applicant’s bank account within 3 days of receipt of an eligible application.
Applicants who are overdrawn can exercise their 1st right of appropriation on the £500 payment, so that their bank does not use the support payment to pay their overdraft. The Council will provide a template to help applicants where this is required.
Discretionary Test and Trace Support payments will be subject to income tax but will not be subject to National Insurance Contributions.
The Government and the Council will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud and any person caught falsifying records or breaching self-isolation when support payments have been awarded may face prosecution and the support payments issued will be subject to claw back.
What are the penalties for not self-isolating?
As well as new support measures, from 28 September, you could also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19. Or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.
From this date, if you test positive for COVID-19, it will also be an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.