Key announcements

Due to essential maintenance, our housing rents online service will be unavailable from Friday 21 January at 5pm until Monday 24 January at 9am. We apologise for any inconvenience. Coronavirus remains a serious health risk. It’s important to stay cautious and help protect yourself and others. Continue to follow national guidance.

Overview and eligibility

Test and trace application processing times

We are currently receiving very high volumes of applications for the Test and trace payments.
All applications are processed in date order. Please help us to process your application quicker by making sure you have uploaded all your supporting documents when completing your online application. Not giving us all the correct information causes delays. Current processing times are delayed due to the high volume of cases we are receiving. Failure to provide the mandatory supporting documents at the time of application, will result in your application being rejected.

We thank you for your patience.


If you are working and are notified by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because you received a positive Covid-19 test result, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum. You may also be eligible if you are not fully vaccinated and have been notified by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or you are the parent or guardian of a child, or a young person with and Education Health and Care plan (EHC) aged under 25, who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. The scheme will end on 31 March 2022.

From 14 December 2021 the rules around Test and Trace Support Payments have changed.

From 14 December 2021, adults and young people who have had two or more vaccinations are no longer required to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or the Omicron variant and therefore are not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment unless they test positive. If you were fully vaccinated and received notification of being close contact of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant from NHS Test and Trace between 30 November and 13 December 2021, you may be eligible.

Also from 14 December 2021, fully vaccinated adults and young people who have been identified as the contact of a COVID-19 case should take an NHS lateral flow test every day for seven days. Anyone eligible for daily testing is not be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment, even if they choose not to take part.

The following groups are eligible to take part in daily testing if they have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case:

  • fully vaccinated household and non-household adult close contacts.
  • contacts who have taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial.
  • contacts who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons
  • contacts who are between the ages of 5 and 18 years and 6 months

From 16 August 2021, children and young people under 18 are not required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means that their parent or guardian will not need to care for them while they self-isolate, as they can continue to leave home to attend an education or childcare setting.

Anyone, including NHS and care workers, who are fully vaccinated and are refused entry to their workplace because a member of their household has tested positive are not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

The Test and Trace Support payment is for people on a low income, who must legally self-isolate or, from 8 March 2021, parents and guardians who must stay home to look after a child or young person who must legally self-isolate, and who cannot work from home during this period. Fully vaccinated adults who test positive or were notified by NHS Test and Trace between 30 November 2021 and 13 December 2021 of being close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, were still required to self-isolate so remain eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. 

Test and Trace process

You must have had either a text or email from NHS Test and Trace containing an 8 digit unique identifier inviting you to create an account if you test positive, reminding you to do this, or giving advice on self-isolation. You may be required to provide details to NHS Test and Trace either over the phone or by updating your own details online through the link in the text or email. This will enable you to check your personal details such as name, date of birth and postcode. It is important that you provide accurate details to NHS Test and Trace.

Everyone who completes the Test and Trace questionnaire will receive a message (sent either via a text message or email or post for people with no access to mobile phone or email) containing the unique 8 character Account ID.

If you meet the payment eligibility criteria, we will need to validate your unique 8 digit reference number before the payment can be processed unless you are applying under the Parents and Guardians Extension.

Eligibility for payments (main scheme)

  1. have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or
  2. have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not fully vaccinated; or
  3. between 30 November 2021 and 13 December 2021 are fully vaccinated and have been notified by NHS Test and Trace of being a contact of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant; and
  4. have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
  5. are employed or self-employed;
  6. are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; and
  7. are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

Eligibility for a discretionary payment (secondary scheme)

  1. have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, because they have tested positive for coronavirus or
  2. or have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  3. You must have had either a text or email sent to you by NHS Test and Trace containing an 8 digit unique identifier either inviting you to create an account if you test positive, reminding you to do this, or giving advice on self-isolation and
  4. have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts
  5. are employed or self-employed; and
  6. are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating.

In addition, the discretionary payment is designed for people who:

  • are not currently receiving and are not the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least 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; and
  • are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating.

Additional criteria for a discretionary payment

The following additional criteria will also be used to determine eligibility for discretionary payments:

  • we will consider people who have applied for a benefit or been refused and have made an appeal against the decision for a discretionary payment so long as they meet the other statutory and discretionary criteria.
  • the same will apply to persons from abroad who are excluded from claiming benefits but meet all the other statutory and discretionary criteria.
  • applicants who have a gross weekly earnings figure of no more than £26,000 per year
  • an applicant would suffer financial hardship if a payment is not made (which they will be asked to substantiate)

Workplace daily testing schemes

Adult contacts who are not fully vaccinated and are taking part in an approved workplace daily contact testing scheme are not eligible for TTSP.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) 

You will pay tax on your payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment. If you are self-employed, you must report the payment on your Self-Assessment tax return.

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