The Test and Trace Support Payment has been set up by government to provide those who work and are on a low income with financial help when they have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, either due to testing positive for coronavirus or being identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of someone that has tested positive for coronavirus.
The scheme has been introduced to coincide with the legal requirement to self-isolate, which started on 28 September.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must:
- have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you’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 of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit
You will not be eligible for the payment if you are only self-isolating for the purposes of quarantining after a trip abroad.
You will not be eligible for a payment if your income is lower than normal because you are furloughed. The payment is for people facing a reduction in income because they cannot work while self-isolating.
How much is the payment?
If you are required to self-isolate and you meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria, you will be entitled to £500. This will be paid as a lump sum.
We will carry out random post-payment checks to ensure those who received a payment were entitled to it. Anyone who continued to receive full pay whilst self-isolating should not have received a payment and will be required to pay it back.
If you do not meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria for payment, your application will be considered under the discretionary scheme. The funding for the discretionary scheme is limited. To qualify under the discretionary scheme you must meet the following criteria:
- All residents of this borough can claim with the exception of full-time students and those not normally resident in the UK:
- You must have property related costs for the property you are living in i.e. mortgage or rent with a formal tenancy agreement; and
- Your capital/savings must not exceed £6000 (combined capital if part of a couple); and
- Your normal gross earnings are between £80 and £290 per week; and
- If part of a couple your combined gross earnings plus any other income must not exceed £500 per week (there will only be one payment of £500 per couple).
What if I am overdrawn?
First Right of Appropriation gives you the right to tell your bank/building society how you want the money paid into your account to be used.
You may want to do this if money is due to be paid into your account and the account is overdrawn or there are bills or other payments due to be paid from it. You can instruct your bank to not use specific payments made to your account. You can also ask that certain payments made in to your account are used to pay specific bills.
You must make the request in writing to your bank or building society BEFORE the payment is due to credit.
Further information and a sample letter are available from National Debtline.
Who will operate the scheme and make the payments in our borough?
We will. We are setting up a local application process to try and make it as easy as possible for people in our borough to apply for the payment.
When does the payment scheme start?
The payment scheme officially started on 28 September. If you were told to self-isolate before 28 September you will not qualify for the payment.
Councils only recently received the guidance about the scheme from the government. We are working hard to get the application process up and running in our borough by 12 October. If you are eligible before this date, you will be able to make a backdated claim.
You can make a claim up to 14 days after your period of self-isolation ends. We cannot accept applications after this point.
How long will the scheme be in place for?
The payment scheme will run until 31 January 2021.
Will the payments be taxed?
The payments will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.
How do I apply?
Someone can apply on your behalf, but the £500 must be paid into a bank account in your name.
Anyone not able to access online services should call our Benefits Service on 01723 232372.
When applying you will be required to provide the following supporting evidence:
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a unique ID number)
- a bank statement
- evidence of your employment and that your income will reduce as a result of self-isolation, or
- evidence you are self-employed such as your latest self-assessment return and that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
You can email your supporting evidence to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the application process, we may need to check any data you provide to us against other information that we hold about you. We may also receive information from other parties or organisations, or share your data with them to check the accuracy of records. This includes NHS Test and Trace (CTAS) and the DWP. This will enable us to prevent or detect crime, or to protect public funds in other ways where the law allows.
We will also need to provide information to HMRC about any payments we make as the payments are subject to Income Tax. If you are self-employed, you need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.
What am I required to do?
You must comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
Visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements.
Please consider downloading the NHS Covid-19 app, which will help to support the Test and Trace programme in our borough and across the country.
Additional community support available during coronavirus
Many people will be able to rely on help from family, friends and neighbours. If you don’t have any one who can help you, for example, if you are self-isolating and need assistance with things like shopping, collection of prescriptions or emotional support, you can contact one of the organisations listed below.
Scarborough & Filey Covid-19 community response - led by Age UK
(covering Scarborough and surrounding villages, Filey and southern villages)
Open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.30pm
CaVCA Covid-19 community response - Whitby and district
(covering Whitby and the surrounding northern area/Esk Valley)
Open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm
If you are experiencing financial hardship or are concerned about employment, money or benefits issues, further advice and support is available from the Citizens Advice website or call 01723 368710.