Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Coronavirus remains a serious health risk. It’s important to stay cautious and help protect yourself and others. Please continue to follow national government advice.

Test and Trace support payment

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.


From 16 August 2021 the rules around Test and Trace Support Payments have changed.

Fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and therefore are not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

Also from 16 August 2021, children and young people under 18 are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means that their parent or guardian will no longer need to care for them while they self-isolate, as they can continue to leave home to attend an education or childcare setting. 

If you 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 young person aged between 16 and 25 who has been asked by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or registered childcare setting to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19,

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 are 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, or a communication from your child or young person’s education or registered childcare setting confirming that they must self-isolate. 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; and
  3. have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
  4. are employed or self-employed;
  5. are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; and
  6. 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 or the NHS COVID-19 app because of recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are not fully vaccinated. A notification from the Test and Trace app is not adequate at present. 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
  3. have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts
  4. are employed or self-employed; and
  5. 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) 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)

Parents and Guardians Extension

From 8 March 2021, you may be eligible if you are a parent or guardian who has taken time off work to look after for a child or young person in your care who is legally required to self-isolate, and you have lost income as a result.

This is for parents and guardians of:

  • children or young people who have received a positive Covid-19 test result, or
  • young people aged between 18 and 25 who are not fully vaccinated and who have been told to self-isolate by their education setting, or NHS Test and Trace on or after 8 March 2021 because of close contact with someone who has Covid-19, but who may not have an NHS Test and Trace 8 digit unique identifier.

As of 16 August 2021, people under 18 are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means that their parent or guardian will no longer need to care for them while they self-isolate, as they can continue to leave home to attend school or college for example.

Some people aged 18 to 25 years old with EHC Plans will still be required to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated. Their parents or guardians may retain eligibility for TTSP if they still need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.

Eligibility for the Parents and Guardians Extension

To qualify, you must meet the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment criteria above (with the exception of an NHS Test and Trace 8 digit unique identifier), and be a parent or guardian who has taken time off work to care for your child or young person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or by their education or registered childcare setting on or after 8 March 2021, and the child or young person has:

  • 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 
  • 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, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan. 

You have 42 days from your child or young person’s first day of self-isolation to apply. The first day of self-isolation must be on or after 8 March 2021.

Privacy

The details you provide will be checked with your child or young person’s education or childcare setting.

Full time university students

Universities have been given over £250m in addition to their existing hardship funds to help students through the Coronavirus pandemic. If the university is unable to assist financially then students can apply provided, they meet the criteria.

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.

How to apply and evidence

Before you start to complete the online form, please make sure that you have:

  • reviewed and completed all of your NHS Test and Trace details such as date of birth and post code if asked to do so
  • read and you meet the eligibility criteria
  • all the appropriate evidence ready to upload.

Where it is not possible to apply online, applicants should call 0121 464 7000, press option 1 for Benefits and option 3 for Test and Trace support payments.

Be aware that the online form will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity and a new form will need to be completed.

To complete the form, you must be prepared to provide:

  • yours or your child’s notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (a unique 8-digit ID number), or a communication from your child’s your young person’s education or childcare setting confirming that they must self-isolate. For young people aged 16-25 a communication from their education or childcare setting or a screenshot of their NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate and evidence that they have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  • your bank statement (showing the account details where the payment will be made)
  • your proof of employment and confirmation from your employer that you cannot work from home
  • if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
  • Proofs to support a discretionary request: please note that in order for the documents to upload successfully, these need to be in the following image format types: GIF, JPG, PDF, PNG or TIFF.

Appeals

Local authorities are not required to provide a right of appeal against any decision not to award a payment, either for the main Test and Trace Support Payment or for applications to receive a discretionary payment. People who are turned down will not be eligible because they do not meet the criteria.

However, where possible, we will work with applicants to make sure they provided the necessary evidence to support a successful application. If we need more evidence, we will contact you before making a decision.

If your claim is rejected because you do not meet the eligibility criteria we will consider if you meet the criteria for a discretionary payment.

Complete an application form for a test and trace support payment

Timescales

If you meet the eligibility criteria you must make a claim within 42 days of the first day of self-isolation.

General information regarding the scheme is available on the GOV.UK website.

Useful links

Support for residents during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Support for businesses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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