A new scheme has been announced by the government to help those on low incomes to self-isolate which runs from 28 September 2020 until 31 January 2021.
The scheme offers support to people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.
The payments are also designed to stop the spread of Covid-19 and avoid further economic and social restrictions by -
- helping to ensure people who have tested positive and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period
- encouraging people to get tested if they have symptoms.
Making a claim
There are two elements -
- a new Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 for those on low incomes to support them if they cannot work during their self-isolation period
- a discretionary fund to help those who require financial support to self-isolate, but do not meet all of the eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must -
- have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and have been given an ID number, either because you've tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- be employed or self-employed
- be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- be currently receiving any of the below benefits –
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit.
To be eligible for a discretionary Test and Trace support payment you must be on a low income and -
- 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 tested positive
- be employed or self-employed
- be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
We will consider each claim on its own merits so if you meet the criteria above but are unsure whether your income is considered low for the purposes of Test and Trace support please claim so we can consider your individual circumstances. As a guide we would consider your income to be low if your hourly pay should be the living wage rate of £9.30 or less, or no more than £325 per week (after tax) for full time work.
Each individual in a household can make their own claim if they meet the criteria.
You can claim each time you are asked to isolate as long as the isolation periods do not overlap.
Claims can be backdated to the 28 September 2020 when the scheme came into force but claims must be made within 14 days of the period of self-isolation.
You can claim using our online form below.
You must provide the following evidence if applicable -
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate or a positive test dated 28 September 2020 or later, this will include your unique NHS Account ID number provided by the Test and Tracing service
- details of employment and reduced income as a result of self-isolation
- details of benefits currently being received
- if self-employed proof of trading income and that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
- evidence of identity and bank account details to enable payment.
A decision will be made within three days of receiving your completed claim and supporting evidence. If you are eligible for a £500 payment this will be paid into the bank account you entered on your claim form.
If you do not qualify for a Test and Trace Support payment or a Discretionary Support payment we will automatically consider your claim to see if help can be provided from our existing Local Welfare Scheme.
You can also claim by telephone, call 01482 300 307 Monday to Saturday, 9am - 5pm. We will take your details and someone will call you back during normal office hours.
Protecting your payment if you have an overdraft
If you have an overdraft on your bank account you can make sure that your support payment does not get used to pay your debt by using a "first right of appropriation of funds order".
You can request an order by writing to your bank when you apply for your Test and Trace payment and telling them that the payment is for personal use, food and bills only.
"On or around DD/MM/YYYY (enter date you expect to receive the payment) I will receive a Covid-19 Test and Trace Self-isolation Support Payment which will be paid into my current account number XXXXXXXX. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: (name the items you wish the money to pay for, such as online food orders from your supermarket or utility bills)"
Keep a copy of the letter and ask your bank for written acknowledgement that they have received your instructions.
Remember to also cancel any previous instructions if you don't want to pay them anymore or can't afford to pay them. This must be done in a seperate cancellation instruction.