Test and Trace Support Payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been announced in response to feed back 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. This 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:

  • 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
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result 
  • 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 Discretionary Scheme, which was recently closed has now been re-opened following further funding from Central Government.

If you are not in receipt of any of the benefits listed above, your application will be considered under the Discretionary Scheme. The funding for this scheme is limited.

To qualify for the Discretionary Scheme your normal gross earnings need to be between £80.00 and £290.00 per week.

Details of the Standard and Discretionary payment schemes

Please find details of the Standard Test and Trace Support Payment scheme here:

Please find details of the Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary scheme here:

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.

When will this come into force?

These changes will come into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. We expect to have our online application form in place by 12 October; individuals who are eligible prior to that date will be able to make a backdated claim.

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.

Will these payments be taxed?

The Test and Trace Payment is taxable if you are a taxpayer, but it is not subject to National Insurance Contributions.

HMRC will automatically collect tax from your pay through your tax code, or self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 20/21 Self-Assessment tax return

How to apply

Make an online application (or a telephone application if someone is not able to access digital services)

Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment here »

Supporting evidence will be required as follows:

  • 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.

What am I required to do?

If you receive a Self-Isolation Payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

  • testing positive and
  • those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and has now been told to self- isolate by NHS Test and Trace. 

Can the bank take this payment to pay my overdraft?

If your bank account is overdrawn you can request a first right of appropriation of funds. This is so that the money can be used for essential bills.

You would need to contact your bank as soon as you know the payment is due making clear that the payment is to be used to pay your bills and not your overdraft.

You can find an example letter that you can use here:

Local support

More local help is available for those instructed to self-isolate here:

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