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Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme guidance

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme guidance

  • Changes from 16 August 2021

    People who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated - this means that they won't be eligible for Test and Trace Support Payments (unless they test positive, at which point they would become eligible). 

    Anyone under 18 who is identified as a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation, so most parents and guardians will be ineligible for Test and Trace Support Payments if their child is identified as a contact.

    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.

    You will still be able to claim if the self-isolation began before 16 August 2021, or if you (or the young person) received your 2nd jab less than 14 days before the start of your self-isolation period.

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme aims to help people on low incomes to self-isolate when they test positive for COVID-19, or are identified as a contact.

This will encourage more people to get tested if they have symptoms, and help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Find out about:


Who is eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

You may be able to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment from us if you are a Chesterfield Borough Council resident* and you meet one of the following criteria:

1. you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have tested positive for COVID-19, or

2. you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive - and you are not fully vaccinated (or received your 2nd jab less than 14 days before the start of your self-isolation), or

3. you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person that has been told to self-isolate see more below

You must also meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • you (or your child) have an 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number 
  • you (or your child) comply with the NHS test and Trace notification to self-isolate
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you are not able to work from home, AND you will lose income as a result of having to stay at home - this does not include people receiving furlough payments
  • you are receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, or Pension Credit

If you are not in receipt of one of the above benefits you may be entitled under our discretionary scheme.

All claims must be made within 42 days of your self-isolation period starting.


Discretionary scheme

You may be entitled to support through our discretionary scheme if you:  

  • are in receipt of Council Tax Support
  • have been in receipt of Council Tax Support or one of the qualifying benefits in the last two months
  • made a claim for Council Tax Support or a qualifying benefit before to being asked to self-isolate, but not yet been notified of your award
  • or your circumstances fall into one of the categories below:
  1. You are liable to pay rent or mortgage, are receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), your normal earnings are less that £24,000 a year, and joint savings for yourself and your partner (if they live with you) are less than £5000
  2. You are liable to pay rent or mortgage, are receiving no income during your isolation period, your normal earnings are less than £25,000 per year and joint savings for you and your partner (if they live with you) are less than £5000
  3. You are not liable to pay rent or mortgage, are receiving no income during your isolation period, your normal earnings are less than £18,000 per year, and your savings for you and your partner (if they live with you) are less than £2,000

We will ask you to provide proof of your rent or mortgage (such as a tenancy agreement or mortgage statement). If you live with a family member and pay them board you are not classed as being liable to pay rent.

Yearly income is assessed before taking off Income Tax, National Insurance or pension contributions.

You must also meet the criteria from the government scheme:

1. you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have tested positive for COVID-19, or

2. you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive - and you are not fully vaccinated, (or received your 2nd jab less than 14 days before the start of your self-isolation), or

3. you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person that has been told to self-isolate - see more below

And:

  • you (or your child) have an 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number 
  • you (or your child) comply with the NHS test and Trace notification to self-isolate
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you are not able to work from home, AND you will lose income as a result of having to stay at home 

All applications made under our discretionary scheme are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and receipt of a payment is not guaranteed.


Have you been told to self-isolate by your employer?

Most people who test positive for COVID-19, or are a contact of someone who has had a positive test, will be notified to self isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service or via the COVID-19 app. 

If your employer has asked you to self-isolate (because a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19), they can register you directly with the Contact Tracing Advisory Service (CTAS) by calling 020 3743 6715.

You will then be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will receive the 8-character code you need to apply for Test and Trace payments.

If you are fully vaccinated you do not need to self-isolate unless you test positive for COVID-19.


If you have been notified to isolate via the COVID-19 app (from 10 December 2020 onwards)

You will need to register with the Contact Tracing Advisory Service (CTAS) to get your NHS Test and Trace Account ID number - this is because the app is anonymous. There is a link in the app and you must register while you are in your self-isolation period - you cannot request your Account ID after you’ve finished self-isolating.

Click the ‘Financial support’ button that appears on the home screen of the app when you’ve been told to self-isolate.

You’ll be taken to a website which will ask you for some information to check whether you could be eligible. None of the information you provide will be passed back to the NHS COVID-19 App. The app is designed to protect your privacy and does not know who or where you are.

If your answers show that you may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are four steps to follow:

Step 1 - confirm who you are with NHS login
You need to log in or register so that NHS Test and Trace can check who you are. If you are registering, you will receive a confirmation link in an email. When you read the email, make sure you keep the existing screen open so that you can continue to the next step.

Step 2 - enter your personal details
You will be asked to enter some personal details so that NHS Test and Trace can carry out some checks. None of your personal details will be given to the app.

Step 3 - register with NHS Test and Trace
You will get an email and text message from NHS Test and Trace within one hour if you register between 7.30am and 8.30pm. If you register outside of these hours, you may not receive the email or text message until the service reopens. These messages will include a link that you need to follow to complete your registration with NHS Test and Trace. You must do this while you are still in your self-isolation period. You will not be able to apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment without completing this step. Once you have completed your registration, you will receive a final confirmation email and text message confirming your 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID. You will then be subject to the legal obligation to self-isolate.

Step 4 - apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment 
Once you have received this second email or text message with your 8 character Account ID, you can apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment. Receiving an NHS Test and Trace Account ID does not necessarily mean you will be eligible for the payment. You must request the Account ID during your self-isolation period - and must claim the payment within 42 days of your self-isolation period starting.


Parents and guardians of children or young people that have been told to self-isolate

You may be able to claim if:

  • you are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self isolating and you need to take time off work to care for them
  • you are unable to work from home and will lose income
  • the young person normally attends an education or care setting

The young person must have:

1. tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan

or

2. been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18 to 25, has an EHC Plan, and is not fully vaccinated (or they received their 2nd jab less than 14 days before the start of their self-isolation)

Children under 18 that have been identified as contacts by NHS Test and Trace no longer need to self-isolate.

You also need to meet all of the other eligibility criteria above.

You will need to provide details of the education or care setting that they usually attend, we will check with them that the information you have provided is correct. You can only claim as a parent/guardian if the child or young person was told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021.

Multiple applications from of the same household:

Parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can make one application per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period (people in the same household who are applying because they are legally required to self-isolate can make their own application to receive the payment).

A parent or guardian can claim more than once, provided their child or young person’s self-isolation periods do not overlap. This applies whether they are claiming for different periods for the same child, or for two or more different children. If the children’s self-isolation periods overlap the household can only make one claim.


Who isn't eligible

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • don’t have an 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number OR the child/young person you are caring for does not have proof that they have to self-isolate
  • are fully vaccinated and don't need to self-isolate
  • are not employed or self employed
  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period)
  • are self-isolating because you or another member of your household have symptoms of COVID-19
  • continue to receive full wages during your period of self-isolation (for example your employer pays you as normal, or you take holiday entitlement instead of unpaid leave)
  • you are receiving furlough payments
  • can work from home during your period of self-isolation

You can not claim if your self-isolation period began more than 42 days ago.


Evidence required to support your claim

When you apply you will need to provide:

  • your National Insurance Number
  • your most recent bank statement, showing your name and bank details
  • if you are employed: 
    • proof of employment such as your most recent wage slip or bank statement showing the wages being paid into your account
    • the name and address of your employer
  • if you are self-employed: 
    • proof of your self-employment, such as your most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment tax returns
  • your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID number - this can be found on the text message or email you were sent by NHS Test and Trace - you can't submit the form without this number (find out how to get this if your were notified to self-isolate by the COVID-19 app)

If you are claiming because of exceptional hardship, you will need to give details of weekly/monthly income, expenditure and savings for you and your partner. You will also need to explain why the loss of income due to staying at home is causing you exceptional hardship.

Parents and guardians

Instead of your own NHS Test and Trace Account ID number you will need ONE of the following to show that the child or young person has been told to self isolate:

  • their 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number
  • a communication from the young person’s education or childcare setting confirming that they have to self-isolate
  • a screenshot of the young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (if they are 16 or over)

How to claim

If you live in the Chesterfield Borough Council area you can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment online through My Chesterfield. Registering for an account is quick and easy, and you will be able to track the progress of your claim.

You need to claim from the local council that sends your Council Tax bill. If you're not sure who that is you can find your local council here.

If you are not sure whether your income will reduce please check with your employer before claiming - we want to avoid asking you to pay the money back.

We may cross-check the details you provide in this application with our benefit and Council Tax records, and may use the information provided to update your Council Tax or benefit account.

We will check the information you have provided by carrying out checks with the NHS Test and Trace Service, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and with your employer. This will include checking whether you have been fully vaccinated.

If you are claiming because you are caring for a child or young person, we will check with their education or care setting that the information you have provided is correct.


Get help with your application

Someone can help you to claim by applying on your behalf, but the payment can only be paid into your own bank account.

If you are unable to apply online please call our customer services team on 01246 959786.


When to claim

You should claim as soon as possible, and no later than 42 days after your period of self-isolation started. Applications after this time won't be accepted.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme will run until 31 March 2022.


How much is paid and when

If you are successful you will receive a £500 lump sum payment.

We aim to make your payment within three working days of receiving your completed application - your claim is not complete until we have received all the evidence and information we have asked you for.


Tax and National Insurance on Test and Trace Support Payments

These payments are subject to income tax, but are not subject to National Insurance contributions.


How will the payments be made?

Payment will be made into the bank account matching the bank statement you provided with your claim.


If your bank account is overdrawn

You should let your bank know that the payment is intended to support your living costs while you are in self isolation. Ask for a ‘right of first appropriation' to make sure that the bank doesn't use the money towards your overdraft.


Claiming for more than one period of self-isolation

You can claim for more than one period of self-isolation. The periods must be separate and the dates of self-isolation can not overlap. You must meet the eligibility criteria and provide supporting evidence each time you claim. 


Can more than one person in the same household apply?

Each person in your household can make their own application as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Only one application is allowed per household for a child or young person’s self-isolation period.


Quarantining after returning to the UK

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.


Information about self-isolation and COVID-19

You can find lots of useful self-isolation guidance and information on the Gov.uk website, including:


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Last updated on 20 September 2021