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Test and Trace support payment

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Eligibility for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, including discretionary payments, will be for people who are told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 and who meet the relevant eligibility criteria. The scheme will remain open for applications until 30 June 2021.

We cannot accept applications from people told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020, even if the period of self-isolation continues after 28 September.

Who is eligible for a payment?

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

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (via email, text, letter or phone call) in which you provided your contact details and where you've tested positive, and the details of your contacts;
  • be employed or self-employed;
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income specifically as a result of the self isolation; and
  • be currently receiving a qualifying benefit
    • Universal Credit,
    • Working Tax Credit,
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance,
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance,
    • Income Support,
    • Housing Benefit,
    • Pension Credit.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • Are quarantining after travelling abroad unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period).
  • Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate.
  • Can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
  • Are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the Self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched (28 September 2020).
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.
  • Have to stay at home to look after a child who has to self-isolate.
  • Are awaiting a test or test results due to being symptomatic but have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.

What if I don't meet all of the criteria for a payment?

If you meet all of the above criteria apart from receiving a qualifying benefit, then you may qualify for our discretionary scheme. Unfortunately if there are any other aspects of the above listed criteria that you do not meet, you will not qualify for our discretionary scheme.

If you have applied for, but are currently awaiting the outcome of a qualifying benefit claim and are therefore not yet in receipt of this qualifying benefit, you can apply to the discretionary scheme.

To be eligible for the Discretionary Scheme Test and Trace Support Payment, you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (via email, text, letter or phone call) in which you provided your contact details and where you’ve tested positive, and the details of your contacts;
  • be employed or self-employed;
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income specifically as a result of the self isolation; and
  • face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst self-isolating.

Therefore you may be asked to provide additional information or evidence in order for the authority to be satisfied that you are facing financial hardship.

What if my child has a requirement to self-isolate?

From 8 March 2021, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme will be extended to assist parents and guardians who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities for a child or young person who is required to self-isolate. This is restricted to one parent or guardian per household where that parent has lost income as a result of being unable to work due to the caring responsibilities for a self-isolating child.

In order to be eligible, the Child or Young Person must have been told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021. If the self-isolation period began before this date, unfortunately you are not eligible to receive a payment.

To qualify, you must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • You live in the same household as a child aged 15 or under (or aged 25 or under with additional support requirements) who attends an education or childcare setting;
  • The child has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or has been told to self-isolate by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a recent contact of someone who has tested positive, or they are aged 16-25 with additional support requirements and have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app.
  • If your child has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you must have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (via email, text, letter or phone call) in which you provided your contact details and the details of your child's contacts;
  • You are employed or self-employed;
  • You are unable to work from home and will lose income specifically as a result of caring for the child who is self-isolating; and
  • You are currently receiving a qualifying benefit, which are:
    • Universal Credit,
    • Working Tax Credit,
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance,
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance,
    • Income Support,
    • Housing Benefit,
    • Pension Credit.

If you meet all of the above eligibility criteria apart from receiving a qualifying benefit, then you may qualify for our discretionary scheme. In order to qualify for the discretionary scheme you must also meet the criteria of:

  • Facing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst caring for a child who is self-isolating.

As part of your application, the Council will require the following details to verify the circumstances of the child's isolation:

  • The child's name, date of birth and address details.
  • The child's eight digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID number, or a letter, email or text from the child's education/childcare setting confirming they are required to isolate, or for 16-25 year olds with additional support needs only, a screenshot of the NHS COVID-19 app notification.
  • Confirmation of the first date that the child was required to self-isolate;
  • The name, email address and phone number of the child's education or childcare setting and their year group. Please note the education or childcare setting will be contacted to verify the details provided;
  • Your latest bank statement to confirm the account where payment has been requested belongs to you;
  • Proof of your employment via your latest wage slip, or if self-employed evidence of your assessment returns, trading income and proof your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

What evidence will I need?

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate (this will include a unique eight character ID number. A unique ID number will be required for each separate period of isolation if you are asked to isolate more than once);
  • your latest bank statement; and
  • proof of employment via your latest payslip or if self-employed evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

Apply online

If you have any questions about applying for the Test and Trace support payment, please telephone:

Your questions answered

We will need to carry out three main pre-payment checks. These are to verify that each applicant:

  • Is receiving one of the benefits in the eligibility criteria;
  • Has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app;
  • Has complied with the requirements of NHS Test and Trace providing contact details for themselves and people they have come into contact with; and
  • Is employed or self-employed and will lose income specifically as a result of the self isolation because they cannot work from home.

People who are furloughed can apply, however in order for your application to be successful you must be able to demonstrate that the period of self-isolation has caused a reduction in your income over and above the pre-existing income reduction due to being furloughed.

If you are eligible you receive a lump sum payment of £500 into your bank account. If a third party makes an application on your behalf, the £500 payment must be made into your bank account.

If your bank account is overdrawn, please write to your bank to advise you are expecting the NHS Test and Trace support payment for £500 and for these funds to be protected by a first right of appropriation of funds order.

This £500 award will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating entitlement to Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

Yes, the payments will be exempt from National Insurance Contributions but are subject to income tax.

The Council will supply HMRC with information.

The Council will make the payment as quickly as possible after your application has been received and pre-payment checks made. However, it should take no longer than three days after a decision has been made.

You must make an application within 28 days of the date your isolation period started.

You can upload evidence with your application, we will accept screen shots of full bank statements and photographs, or you can email it to testandtrace@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

Yes, provided the eligibility criteria are met on each separate occasion and the self-isolation period for which you are claiming doesn't overlap with a previous self-isolation period. You will need to complete a new application and provide evidence again.

Yes, provided each applicant meets the relevant criteria.

There is no right of appeal against the decision made.

You can make an application for the discretionary scheme if you are not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment. To be eligible for the discretionary scheme, you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you 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 specifically as a result of the self isolation
  • have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (via email, text, letter or phone call) in which you provided your contact details and where you've tested positive, and the details of your contacts
  • face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst self-isolating

Therefore if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment because you are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit but you meet all of the other criteria, then you can apply to the discretionary scheme.

If you have applied for, but are currently awaiting the outcome of a qualifying benefit claim and are therefore not yet in receipt of this qualifying benefit, you can apply to the discretionary scheme.

To qualify for a discretionary award you will need to provide evidence to show you are in financial hardship.

If you are eligible you receive a lump sum payment of £500 into your bank account. If a third party makes an application on your behalf, the £500 payment must be made into your own bank account.

If your bank account is overdrawn, please write to your bank to advise you are expecting the NHS Test and Trace support payment for £500 and for these funds to be protected by a first right of appropriation of funds order.

This £500 award will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating entitlement to Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

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