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Coronavirus (Covid-19): latest information on our response, updates on our services and what support is available.
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Test and Trace Support Payment

In September 2020 the Government announced a new national Test and Trace Support scheme. Under this scheme, payments of £500 will be available for people who meet the criteria below who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, providing that their period of self-isolation started on or after 28 September 2020

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has been set up 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. 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:

  • submit an application within 28 days of the start of their isolation period
  • 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
  • be employed or self-employed and
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and
  • 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

If you are not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits above, you may be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment. The discretionary scheme has reopened from 21st January 2021 due to additional funding being made available.

You and your partner (if applicable) will need to meet all of the other criteria listed above and all of the following criteria:

    • are responsible for paying rent or mortgage on the property that you are living in
    • have combined capital of less than £6000
    • have a combined income of less than £300 per week

Please note that if you have already applied for a discretionary award for the period of your isolation and have been refused for whatever reason, we are unable to consider any new application for the same period.

If you do not meet the criteria for either the standard or discretionary scheme but require additional support, please refer to our Coronavirus support webpages.

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 10-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 on 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

Is there a right of appeal against each decision?

There is no right of appeal. People who are refused the payment will not be eligible because they don’t meet the criteria. We will work with applicants to make sure they provide the necessary evidence to support a successful application.

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 directly into your bank account.

How is this payment treated in respect of other benefits (e.g. Housing Benefit or Universal Credit), is it treated as earnings or disregarded in full?

These payments will be fully disregarded when calculating entitlement to other benefits. We are awaiting government guidelines regarding the impact for Council Tax Reduction, so this will be clarified shortly.

Will these payments be taxed?

These payments will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

 

Apply for the Test and Trace Self Isolation Payment

If you have been told by the NHS Covid-19 app to self-isolate you can claim your payment through the app. Details of how to do this are available here How can I apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment if the NHS COVID-19 app has told me to self-isolate? · COVID-19 app support

Or you can apply via your local council. Our residents can apply using the details below.

Before you start

You will need the following evidence to support your application:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate – this notification will include a Unique ID number to each customer (e.g.  4a2c204a)
  • a recent 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 may find that a recent bank statement will provide proof of your earnings)

You should provide as much evidence as you can with your application to reduce any possible delays when we assess it.

Apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment

If you are unable to apply online, call us on 01454 434087. Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm.  At other times you can leave a message and telephone number and we will call you back within one working day.

 

Can a customer apply without Test and Trace Account ID reference number?

No, customers will have been provided with a unique 8-digit ID reference where they have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Applications will be refused if an applicant cannot provide their unique reference number

Can someone claim more than once?

Yes, provided the eligibility criteria are met on each separate occasion and the self-isolation period for they are claiming for doesn’t overlap with a previous self-isolation period.

If someone is instructed to self-isolate on more than one occasion, are they given a different 8-digit ID for each self-isolation period?

Yes, a new ID is issued for each self-isolation period, the unique ID is linked to that isolation period and not to the person.

Can more than one person from the same household make a claim for this payment?

Yes, provided each applicant meets the relevant criteria.

I have been told to self-isolate, what am I required to do?

Visit the NHS website for details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those who have:

  • tested positive and or
  • been in contact with someone who has tested positive and have now been told by NHS Test and Trace, that they must also self-isolate

What are the penalties for not self-isolating?

As well as new support measures, from 28 September, you could also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for Covid-19, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.

From this date, if you test positive for Covid-19, it will also be an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

Any award under the Test and Trace Support payment scheme is given on the understanding that you fully comply with any request to self-isolate.

Fraud

You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain a payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be recovered from you, as may any grants paid in error.

The Government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

Data Sharing

We need your consent so that we can access your records in the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm that you are eligible for the Self-Isolation / Test and Trace Payment Scheme. You can find more information in the NHS Test and Trace Privacy Notice.

We may carry out checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes, and with your employer.  We will not share your data with other organisations or individuals outside of the council for any other purpose.

We will provide information to HMRC about any payments we make because Self-Isolation/Test and Trace Payments are subject to tax. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

You should also read our enhanced privacy policy relating to applications for self-isolation payment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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