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Covid-19 test and trace self isolation support payment

A scheme to assist those who have to self-isolate and have lost earned income as a result

Standard criteria for support payment

A payment of £500 is payable to anybody who meets the standard criteria below.

  • You will not be entitled to a payment if you:
    • Have been double vaccinated and have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive on or after 16 August 2021, unless that person is suspected of having the Omicron variant
  • Lives in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and was either;
    • Instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or
    • Followed the instructions regarding financial assistance having been advised to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app or
    • Required to take time off work to care for a child or young person who has been required to self-isolate and;
  • Where appropriate, has engaged with the NHS Test & Trace Service having received that instruction and;
  • Is either employed or self-employed, and;
  • Cannot work from home and has lost income as a result and;
  • Claims within 42 days of the start of the period of self-isolation.

You will not be entitled to a payment if you:

  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate or have not engaged with NHS Test & Trace having received such a notification.
  • Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period)
    • you have returned from a red-listed country and/or
    • are not fully vaccinated
  • Claim more than 42 days after the start of the period of self-isolation
  • Have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 web app unless you have followed the instructions regarding financial assistance following a notification that you should self-isolate
  • Are self-isolating because you or another member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19 unless you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • Continue to receive full wages during your period of self-isolation
  • Can work from home during the period of your self-isolation
  • Have not been furloughed or stopped working because of the impact of an increase in Government measures regarding Coronavirus.

Who can apply for the Test and Trace support payment

If you’ve been told to self-isolate and you meet the standard criteria listed above, you can apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment if you will lose income because you cannot work from home.

You or the partner you live with must get one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support

Gov.UK guidance on claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

Before you complete the online application form, please make sure you have

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • The name and address of your employer
  • If you are self-employed: proof of your self-employment, e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment tax returns.
  • Your or your child’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID reference
    • If you are applying because you are taking time off work to care for a child or young person who is self-isolating they may not have a test and trace number.  If so you must supply evidence from the educational establishment or care provider
    • The NHS Test and Trace Account ID reference is an 8 digit identifier e.g. 4a2c204a - you will not receive an award.
    • This can be found on your contact journey invitation message (sent by text message or email) or on the confirmation message you were sent when you completed the NHS Test and Trace questionnaire. 
    • If you have been advised to self-isolate via the NHS COVID-19 app, you will receive this number after you have complied with the instructions provided when you request financial assistance. 
  • Supporting documents and evidence - you will not receive an award without this.
  • Calculating your lost income
    • It is important that you tell us how much money, if any, you will actually earn during the period of your isolation, even if you will not be paid that money immediately. 

You may be prosecuted if you provide false information, or if you do not self-isolate.

Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as will 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.

Calculating your lost income

When you answer the question regarding how much income you will earn before and during the isolation period.  We use this to confirm that you have, in fact, lost income and, in the case of claims for discretionary awards, to calculate the amount of that loss.

For example, if you earn £50 per day, and you are told to self-isolate for 10 days, and you are unable to work 7 of those days where you usually would have done, and receive no payment from your employer, you will have lost  £350. 

How can somebody apply if they don’t have access to the Internet?

If you have no access to the Internet, we can take your application over the phone – call 020 8496 3000 and choose the option for Housing Benefit. Please note that this may delay your application as we will still need you to provide some evidence.

Can you help me with my application?

Yes, call us on 020 8496 3000 and choose the option for Housing Benefit and we will help you. Please note that this may delay your application as we will still need you to provide some evidence.

How do I provide evidence?

When you complete the online application, if you are self-employed or are claiming because a child or young person has been told to self-isolate by theirs school or carer, you will need to upload evidence and submit it along with your form.

You can use a mobile phone to take a photograph of your documents, such as your bank statements, and when the form asks for evidence click ‘browse’ and select the document from your photos. 

You can only upload documents that are in JPEG (which most photographs are) or PDF format. 

How many times can I apply?

You can make a claim each time you begin a new period of self-isolation and if more than one member of your household is required to self-isolate, each member of your household may make a claim so long as they satisfy the criteria listed above.

Each person may only make one claim if two periods of self-isolation overlap.

For example, you could make two claims if the first period of self-isolation ended on 15 March and a new period started on 16 March. You could only make one claim if the second period of self-isolation started on 15 March.  This is because the first day of the second period overlaps the last day of the first period.

Can I claim on behalf of another person?

Yes, but payment must be made to the bank account of the person who is actually entitled to the grant.

Is there a time limit for making applications?

Yes, you must make a claim within 42 days of when you started your self-isolation. We cannot accept applications after this point.

For example, if you have been instructed by NHS Test and Trace from 1 January, you must apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment by 12 February.

What is the Test and Trace Account ID number and where can I find it?

The NHS Test and Trace Account ID is an 8-character identifier unique to each record. The NHS Test and Trace team will provide you with this information when you are instructed to self-isolate or, if you have been advised to self-isolate via the NHS COVID-19 app.

I am self-employed: what proof do I need to provide?

If you are self-employed, you need to provide evidence of self-assessment tax returns and trading income. You will need to provide evidence about your income and the type of work that you do.

It will be easier for some professions to work from home than others, you will need to evidence that you have lost income as a result of self-isolating.

How is the support payment made?

Payment will be made by BACS transfer and is subject to income tax but will not affect your entitlement to benefit.  Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs will contact you about any tax you may need to pay at a later date.

If you are suffering financial hardship you may wish to contact your bank and exercise a first right of appropriation against the grant – this means that you will tell the bank what the payment is to be used for. Find a template letter through the National Debt Helpline.

Government advice regarding coronavirus can be found on the GOV.UK website.

What do I do if I am refused an award?

If you believe you have been wrongly refused an award we will look at it again although there is no formal right of appeal against the decision. To challenge a decision you must complete a new claim form and choose the option labelled “A follow-up claim following a refusal” option at the bottom of question 2 

Help you navigate the NHS Test & Trace app

You can claim financial support if you have been advised to self-isolate via the NHS Test & Trace app. You must have the latest version of the app installed to do this.