Test and Trace support scheme
The government has announced a new national Test and Trace Support scheme.
Test and Trace support payment
If you are working, on a low-income and are required to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 payment.
Under this scheme, payments of £500 are available for individuals who receive 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 is available to those working and receiving one of the following:
- Universal Credit;
- Working Tax Credit;
- Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance;
- Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance;
- Income Support;
- Housing Benefit; and/or Pension Credit.
If you have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, are working or self-employed and will lose income because you cannot work from home, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment.
Anyone that meets the eligibility criteria and is told to self-isolate will be able to claim.
Applications for support must be made within 28 days of the end of a period of self-isolation at the latest and the scheme is available until 31 March 2021.
Other support is also available.
Who can get the Test and Trace Support Payment?
To be eligible for the new Test and Trace Support Payment, you must:
- Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has;
- Be employed or self-employed;
- Be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
- Be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
Discretionary support may be available if you meet most of the conditions shown above, but do not receive one of the benefits listed and will face financial hardship, if you are unable to work while self-isolating.
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, for example: your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme launches on Monday 28 September.
- Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.
How much is the payment and will it be taxed?
You may be supported by a lump sum payment of £500. This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.
How long will this be in place for?
The scheme will run until 31 March 2021.
Before you apply
You will need the following information to complete the form:
- A copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last two months which must clearly show name, address and account details);
- Proof of employment, or self-employment, for example: your most recent pay slip, a recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns;
- Proof of the Account ID you have received from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
- Your National Insurance Number.
You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as may any awards paid in error.
What happens next?
The government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.
We will review your application and carry out the necessary checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax purposes, and NHS Test and Trace to confirm your self-isolation status.
If we are able to verify your entitlement, we will contact you to confirm when you will receive your payment.
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.