Test and Trace Support Payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been announced by Central Government in response to feedback that some residents were struggling to self-isolate due to financial constraints. It is to ensure that people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and to encourage more people to get tested. The idea is that it will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further social and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  1. have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they've tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and
  2. be employed or self-employed, and
  3. be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, and
  4. be currently receiving one or more of the following:
    • universal credit
    • working tax credit
    • income based employment and support allowance
    • income based jobseeker's allowance
    • income support
    • housing benefit
    • pension credit

The Council has a discretionary scheme for any individual who meets criteria 1-3 above but not criteria 4.

The additional requirements for the discretionary scheme is that you:-

  • receives Carers Allowance for looking after someone else
  • OR
  • you will face financial hardship due to having to isolate, your normal earnings are below £350.00 per week before deductions, you work a minimum of 16 hours per week, your capital/savings are below £3,000 and you are not a student.
  • have applied for one of the qualifying benefits above but is awaiting a payment.
  • have made a formal appeal against a decision not to award one of the above benefits.
  • have no recourse to public funds.

How much is the payment?

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum.

In the case of your being overdrawn you may need to use "First Right Of Appropriation"

Put simply it means that when you pay money into your account, you have the right to tell the bank how you want that money to be used. Therefore you must inform them how you want the money to be used at the time of payment. If you don't give your bank instructions at the time of payment then they may decide how the money should be used.

It is preferable to send written instructions to your bank in case of any later dispute. An example of such a letter can be found later on. It is also a good idea to request that the bank acknowledge your letter or you could send it via recorded delivery.

When will this come into force?

These changes came into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate.

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 31 January 2021. During this time, we will continue to review the success of the scheme, including the impact on COVID-19 levels.

Required supporting evidence

The following supporting evidence will be required:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number)
  • a bank statement and
  • 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.

You can use the following links to view the full policy documents:-

Test and Trace Standard Scheme

Test and Trace Discretionary Scheme

Apply Online

Apply for the Support Payment

Last updated on 16/10/2020

Contact the Revenues & Benefits team