Test and Trace Support Payment (self-isolation payment)

 Changes to self-isolation requirements from the 16 August 2021

From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will no longer be required to self-isolate. This means they are ineligible for a payment (unless they test positive themselves, at which point they would become eligible).

Also from this date, anyone under 18 who is identified as a close contact will be exempt from self-isolation. This will mean that most parents and guardians will be ineligible for a payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate. As children who have tested positive will still be required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child).

If a young person aged under 25 who is not fully vaccinated has been identified as a close contact and they have an Education, Health and Care plan, their parents or guardians may be eligible if they need to stay at home to look after them.

We are currently very busy processing Test and Trace Isolation payments. It will speed up your application if you have supplied the required proofs to support your claim. Please read our website for further information on what is required, specifically the “How do I apply” section.

 

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.

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.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • you 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 (and you are not fully vaccinated); and
  • you're employed or self-employed; and
  • you're unable to work from home and you will lose income as a result; and
  • you're 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; and
  • you have engaged with NHS Test and Trace by responding to their messages

If you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person required to self-isolate see our parent or guardian section.

You will not be eligible for the payment if:

  • you have been identified as a close contact and are fully vaccinated

  • you are only self-isolating for the purposes of quarantining after a trip abroad

  • 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. 

The full Standard Payment Scheme can be read here.

If you don't receive any of the benefits above, you may be eligible under our discretionary payments scheme

Discretionary payments

If you do not meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria for payment, your application will be considered under the discretionary scheme. All residents of this borough can claim with the exception of those not normally resident in the UK. To qualify under the discretionary scheme, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • Your normal gross earnings are at least £80 per week; and
    • If you’re single your normal gross earnings must not exceed £500 per week; or
    • If you’re part of a couple your normal combined gross earnings must not exceed £800 per week (there will only be 1 payment of £500 per couple); and
  • Your capital/savings must not exceed £6000 (combined capital if part of a couple)

The full Discretionary Payment Scheme can be read here.

Parents and guardians of a child who needs to self-isolate

Parents or guardians who need to take time off work to look after a child who is self-isolating can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.    

  • Applicants must meet either the benefits-linked eligibility criteria or the discretionary payment criteria and;
  • they are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them whilst they self-isolate
  • they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

Payment is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.

The child or young person must:

  • have tested positive for coronavirus and is aged 15 or under or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) or;

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan and;

  • normally attend an education or childcare setting

We will need evidence that your child has been told to self-isolate and may verify certain details with their educational or childcare setting.

If the educational or childcare setting is closed, you will not be eligible for a payment.

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 2020. If you were told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020, you will not qualify for the payment.

You can make a claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation. We cannot accept applications after this point.

How long will the scheme be in place for?

The payment scheme will run until 31 March 2022.

Will the 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 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 testandtracesupport@scarborough.gov.uk

Check your eligibility 

Before proceeding check our benefits-linked or discretionary payment criteria.

All residents of this borough can claim with the exception of those not normally resident in the UK. To qualify under the discretionary scheme, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your normal gross earnings are at least £80 per week; and
    • If you’re single your normal gross earnings must not exceed £500 per week; or
    • If you’re part of a couple your normal combined gross earnings must not exceed £800 per week (there will only be 1 payment of £500 per couple); and
  • Your capital/savings must not exceed £6000 (combined capital if part of a couple)

Apply online >

What if I do not qualify for a payment?

If you do not qualify for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment you may be eligible for support through the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund

In addition to its usual support for people and families on means tested benefits, the fund is also currently running a specific Covid Self-Isolation Grant Scheme. 

Support with food and energy costs is available to anyone who is self-isolating either because they have tested positive or have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace. 

Contact Family Fund Business Services via email covidsupport@familyfundservices.co.uk or nylaf@familyfundservices.co.uk
 

Your data

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.

To validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your Test and Trace Support Payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating.

For more information on how TransUnion may use your data, please visit https://www.transunion.co.uk/legal/privacy-centre.

You can read the privacy notice here.

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.

How to self-isolate

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 anyone 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
01723 379058
scarbcomsupp2020@gmail.com
 

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
01723 362205
ccr@cavca.org.uk

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 their freephone number 0808 278 7889.