Test and Trace Support Payment - Questions and Answers

What is the aim of the Test and Trace Support Payment?

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been introduced in response to feedback that some residents were struggling to self-isolate as directed due to financial constraints.  It is to help ensure that people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive to COVID-19 or are identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive, and to encourage more people to get tested.  
Self-isolating helps prevent family, friends and the community from contracting COVID-19, as well as helping to protect the health care system, In addition, reducing the transmission of the virus will avoid further social and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.

When will this come into force?

The payment will come into effect on 28th September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. 

ECDC systems to enable me to apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment were not in place until 12th October 2020, can I make a back dated claim?

Yes, claims can be backdated to 28th September 2020.

How long will the scheme be in place for?

The scheme will run until 31st January 2020. During this time the government will continue to review the effectiveness of the scheme, including the impact of COVID-19 incidence levels. 

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.

Will these payments be taxed?

These payments will be subject to income tax.  They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.  Local Authorities are required to notify HMRC details of payment made under the Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment scheme.

Will I be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

To be eligible for the test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:
  • Have been asked to self- isolate from NHS Test and Trace either because they have tested positive to COVID-19 or have recently been close to someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result: and
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income- based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing benefit and or Pension Credit.

If you are not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits but are on a low income and meet all the other criteria you may still be entitled to a support payment under our local discretionary scheme.  You can apply for the discretionary scheme using the same online Test and Trace Support Payment form

How can I apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

The application form is online. A friend, family member or support worker can make the application on your behalf, but money can only be paid into your bank account.
If you do not have access to the internet and no-one to help you, please ring 01353 665555 and a member of our Customer Services Team will help you. Please note this may delay your application as we will still need you to provide some evidence.
 

What evidence am I required to submit with my application?

As part of the application you will asked to provide your National Insurance Number , 8 digit Test and Trace ID number and your Date of Birth.  You will also be asked to provide the following evidence: 
  • Proof of your Test and Trace ID number
  • Latest bank statement (no more than 2 months old)
  • Proof of employment i.e. wage slips, If self- employed self-  assessment tax returns and trading income
  • Proof of receipt of benefits
  • If employed - A letter from your employer confirming that you cannot work from home and will lose income  
  • If self- employed - evidence about your income and the type work that you do and why you cannot work from home or without social contact, you will also need to evidence loss of income as a result of isolating.

When will I get paid?

We aim to make payments within 3 days of verifying an application.  It is important that you provide all the information we need when you apply so that we can make payments quickly.  If we need further information to assess your application, we will contact you by phone or email, but this may delay payment.

Can I claim more than once? If so, is the process the same as the initial claim?

Yes provided the eligibility criteria are met on each separate occasion and the self-isolation period for which they are claiming does not overlap with a previous self-isolation period.  The process should be the same as any other claim.

What about multiple claims from the same household – will this be allowed?

Yes, provided each applicant meets the eligibility criteria. Each member of the household will need to fill in their own application form.

Is there a time limit for making applications?

Yes, you must make a claim within 14 days of the end of your period of self-isolation.  We cannot accept applications after this point.  For example, if you are instructed by NHS test and Trace on 1 October to stay at home and self- isolate for 14 days, your isolation period ends on 15th October and you must apply for the test and Trace Support payment by 28 October.

Who is not eligible?

Residents will not be eligible for the scheme if they:
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate
  • Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless they test positive during the 14 day quarantine period)
  • Have been asked to self- isolate before 28th September 2020
  • Have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 web app
  • Are self-isolating because you, or another member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Are unable to work because a child under your care cannot attend school due to an outbreak of COVID-19
  • Continue to receive full wages during your period of self-isolation
  • Can work from home during the period of your self-isolation
  • Are furloughed and your income is less because of this except if your furloughed work part-time and due to self-isolation, you are losing income because you can no longer work part-time
  • Are not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits
If you are not in receipt of any of the benefits but are on a low income and meet all the other criteria you may still be entitled to a support payment under our local discretionary scheme.  You can apply for the discretionary scheme using the same online Test and Trace Support Payment form

What help is there if I do not qualify for the local discretionary scheme?

If you are on a low income and would like some information about the help and support available to you, please visit:

Independent organisations who can offer support with financial information and advice are:

I have just found out that I am now eligible for a benefit that would have qualified me for a Test & Trace Support Payment, can I make a back dated claim?

No, you must have been in receipt of the benefit at the time you applied for the payment.

I am waiting to hear about my Benefit Claim?

If you have met all the other criteria but are not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for a discretionary payment.  You should fill in the application form and complete the discretionary application questions.

Will the payment impact my existing benefit entitlements?

No, the payment does not affect existing entitlements to Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.  The payment will also be disregarded for tax credits.

How are these payments treated in respect of benefits entitlement such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit?

These payments are not included when calculating entitlement to other benefits.

I am overdrawn, if you pay me the £500 into my bank account I will not be able to access it, can you pay me a different way?

We will be paying the Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment into a bank account in the applicant’s name. 
If you are overdrawn you can contact your bank and ask that this payment is not used to pay towards your overdraft.
This is called “exercising your right of appropriation” and it will ensure the money is not used to pay the overdraft.
You would have to contact your bank to explain that you are expecting a £500 payment, (the NHS Test and Support Payment), and detail how you would like to spend the money.  This protection is called a “first right of appropriation of funds order”.

Will there be checks on any of the information that I provide?

Yes, the applications will be checked against DWP and HMRC income details.  The government has also said that it will be conducting some checks after payments have been made to check that the applicant did have reduced income as a result of self-isolation.  If payments are made to someone who is not entitled, the Council will ask for the payment to be returned.

Will I be eligible for the Local Discretionary Scheme?

To be eligible for Local Discretionary scheme an individual must:
  • Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive
  • Are employed or self- employed; and 
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

In addition the discretionary payment is for residents:

  • Who are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit: and 
  • Who are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating
  • Have no recourse to public funds

Do I still have to have and NHS Test and Trace number to claim under the discretionary scheme?

To qualify for a payment you must still have a Test and Trace ID Number.  You must also be working or self-employed and on a low income.

Can you pay me if I am not working?

No, you have to be working or self-employed to qualify for a payment.

What if I do not want to stay of work/self-isolate?

From 28th September 2020, people are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they are identified by the NHS Test and Trace scheme as a contact of someone who has tested positive.  People who do not self-isolate face a fine of £1,000.  This could increase to £10,000 for repeat offences and the most serious breaches, including preventing others from self- isolating.

What if my employer threatens to sack me if I will not go to work?

Employers who force staff or allow staff to come to work when they should be self-isolating will be liable for fines up to £10,000.