Frequently asked questions
Can I apply on behalf of someone else (i.e. a friend or relative)?
Yes, however you will still need to supply the relevant evidence on their behalf
Is there a minimum number of hours a week people must work in order to apply?
Will the payments be pro-rata for people in part-time jobs?
What about people who have had to self-isolate in the past? Have they missed out?
This is a new scheme which is available to anyone who self-isolates from 28 September. Those who have self-isolated when asked to have played a critical role in controlling the virus, and protecting their friends and family. This is a new measure designed to support those facing severe financial hardships and in the most vulnerable situations.
Who is responsible for making the payments?
Local authorities are delivering these payments and costs are being reimbursed by the UK Government.
Can I have a cheque payment?
The government guidance clearly states that payments should be made directly in to bank accounts within 3 working days of all evidence being received. If you do not have a bank account, you will need to call us on 0121 464 7000 Option 3 and explain why you need a cheque payment.
Which bank account will the money be paid in to?
The money must be paid in to the same bank account as the one submitted with the application.
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 support payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of support payments. This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating. Read how TransUnion may use your data.
What if I am overdrawn on my bank account?
You should speak to your bank if you are concerned about not being able to access this payment and explain that this is a Benefit payment. Banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft. You can protect your Test and Trace Isolation Payments by telling your bank it should only be used for essential living expenses such as rent or food etc. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'. You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account.
For example, you may want to make sure that your Test and Trace award or job seekers allowance (JSA) is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments. In order to request a first right of appropriation of funds order, you will need to write to your bank at least seven days before your Test and Trace payment is due, making it clear that this payment from Birmingham City Council is to pay for your rent or for other essential requirements due to being told to self-isolate by the NHS.
For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:
"On or around 20 October 2020, I will receive a one-off payment from Birmingham City Council due to test and trace self-isolation. This will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month."
Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank or building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.
If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to repay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.
Is there a time limit for making applications?
Eligible individuals can make a claim up to 42 days from the first day of self-isolation. Applications will not be accepted after this point. For example: someone starting self-isolation on 8 March 2021 must apply by 18 April 2021.
Can you claim for every period of self-isolation?
Yes, applicants can to claim more than once if they meet the eligibility criteria on more than one occasion. These self-isolation periods must not overlap.
Eligibility has been extended to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period. This means a parent or guardian can claim more than once, provided their child or young person’s self-isolation periods do not overlap with each other or with the applicant’s. This applies irrespective of whether the parent or guardian is claiming twice for the same child, or for two different children.
in a household with two children (Child A and Child B), the parents or guardians can claim twice (either twice from the same parent or one claim per parent) if Child A’s first day of self -isolation is 8 March and Child B’s first day of self-isolation is 21 March. This is because Child B’s self-isolation starts after Child A’s 10-day self-isolation period ends.
However, if Child B’s self-isolation period started on 15 March the two would overlap so the family can only make one claim.
Self-isolation and Sick pay
For both the Test and Trace Support Payment and discretionary payments, eligible individuals will receive their £500 payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they currently receive. Please note if you are in receipt of SSP but receiving your full wage you are not impacted financially by being asked to self-isolate and will not qualify for a self-isolation payment.
How will the application process work and what evidence is required?
People should apply online. (telephone access is available for those without any digital access)
Information needed to apply. You MUST provide all the following information in order to meet the conditions of the scheme
- National Insurance Number
- A copy of a recent bank statement (issued within the last three months which must clearly show your name and bank details)
- The name and address of the employer or If you are self-employed: proof of your self-employment stratus, e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last three months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment tax returns and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
- 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.
- proof of receipt of one of the qualifying benefits
- proof of employment or, if they are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income
Where can I find my NHS test and Trace ID
Your unique NHS Test and Trace Account ID reference (8 digit identifier e.g. 4a2c204a) 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. You may not be able to submit your application without this.
What format do you except for uploading evidence?
You will need to upload evidence in support of your application such as your NHS test and trace self-isolating notification, bank statement and employment proof to the form.
- word documents (.doc or .docx)
- images (.jpg or .png)
Who is not eligible?
Applicants who are not eligible for the scheme are as follows:
- Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate, or have not received a communication from their child or young person’s education or care setting asking them to self-isolate
- Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless they test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
- Have been asked to self-isolate before 28 September 2020, or before 8 March 2021 for applicants claiming under the parents and guardians extension
- Are self-isolating because they, or another member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19
- Parents and guardians who are unable to attend work because a child in their care has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, and who have not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or their child’s education or registered childcare setting
- Continue to receive full wages during their period of self-isolation
- Can work from home during the period of their self-isolation
Will everyone in a household be eligible to apply or only one person?
All those who meet the criteria set out can apply individually. Members of the same household can also apply provided they meet the criteria.
Will it apply to those who are self-isolating because of a recent trip to a country not on the travel corridor list?
No. the scheme is for people on low incomes who cannot work from home. It is not for people returning from abroad who are required to self isolate as a result of having visited a country not on the travel corridor list.
People quarantining will not be eligible unless they subsequently develop symptoms, test positive and meet all other eligibility criteria.
Will EU citizens or foreign citizens be eligible?
All those who meet the eligibility criteria can apply.
What if someone is working illegally?
Anyone applying will need to demonstrate evidence of employment. Where it is suspected that someone applying for the payment is working illegally, the relevant authorities will escalate the matter to immigration enforcement and/or the police.
How will you combat fraud and people who repeatedly claim this payment?
This will be taken very seriously. Individuals who are found to have committed fraud (or to have attempted to do so) will be prosecuted. Local authorities also have the right to recoup money, taking any necessary recovery action.
Will the self-isolation payments be taxed?
Yes. these payments will be subject to income tax but not National Insurance contributions.
How long will this be in place for?
The scheme will run until 30 June 2021.
If I am waiting for a test, can I claim the payment?
Only if you have been identified as a close contact of somebody who has tested positive and instructed to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
Can I apply if I have a zero hours contract?
Yes, provided you meet the criteria
I have lost more than £500 in income due to loss of work; can I claim more money?
No, people will receive £500 as a lump sum, regardless of how much they have lost in income.
Are students eligible?
You may be eligible for the payment if you are a student and you receive one of the qualifying benefits (Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit) because, for example, you are a part-time student, are disabled or have children.
If you don't receive any of these benefits you should contact your university or college welfare team to see what financial support they can give you, most have funds available that offer support for students facing financial hardship. If you rely on your wages to pay your accommodation costs, are experiencing hardship, and can't get help from your college or university then you can apply for a Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment under the discretionary scheme and we will consider your application.
Are children eligible for this payment or can I receive this payment for my children in addition to myself?
No. Children are not eligible for this payment. A child is classed as someone that is under 18 and not working or a 19 year old whose parent still receive Child Benefit.
If my child is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and advised to self-isolate, am I eligible for this payment if I have to stay at home to look after them?
If you meet the parents and guardians extension criteria and the self-isolation main or discretionary scheme criteria, you may be eligible for a payment.
Can someone claim if they can work from home?
No. Only applicants who cannot work from home are eligible to apply.
What kind of childcare setting must my child attend?
The childcare setting must be registered with the Local Authority.
What impact will this payment have on my Universal Credit or other benefits?
The Test and Trace Support Payment is disregarded for benefit purposes.
I have two children sent home, but their isolation dates overlap. Can I make two claims?
No. Eligible isolation periods must not overlap.
I share custody of my child. Who should claim?
The parent who is staying home to the care for the child should claim.
If my child has been sent home with a CTAS number (8-digit unique identifier) should I use this?
Parents and guardians of children with CTAS numbers should be able to add themselves as a contact to their child’s contact tracing journey and claim under their own CTAS number
If I cannot work because of a local lockdown or the temporary closure of a workplace, am I eligible for this payment?
No, the payments are for people who have to self-isolate at home and will lose income as a result.
Can I apply if I am currently furloughed?
Yes, you can apply if you are on furlough but you will need to meet all the criteria for the scheme.
Can I claim if I am only staying at an address in Birmingham on a temporary basis?
No, you should claim from your permanent address as this is where records to confirm your entitlement are held. We will check the information that you provide to check that you permanently reside at the address that you provide.
I am classed by the government as having no recourse to public funds due to my immigration’s status, I am on a low income and cannot claim any benefits, can I claim this if I can’t go into work?
You can claim from the discretionary scheme.
I’ve just found out that I am now eligible for a benefit that would have qualified me for a Test and Trace Support Payment, can I make a backdated claim?
No, you must have been in receipt of the benefit at the time you applied for the payment.
What if I have two jobs? I can work from home on one but not the other and will be losing money. Can I claim?
Yes, if you can evidence that you have lost income as a result of self-isolating you will receive a grant. This is providing the other criteria are met.
Are those advised to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app eligible?
Anyone who receives notification of a positive test result (including app users who initially report their symptoms through the app and are referred on to the test booking system) will be able to apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment, if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
I do not have access to the internet, what can I do?
You can ask a member of your household to help you apply. If you need to ask someone who doesn't live with you to help, please make sure you do not break the self-isolation rules.
The application form is online, you just need access to the internet. Most mobile phones have internet access.
To upload evidence, you can take a photo(s) using a mobile phone or tablet and upload the photo(s) using that device.
A friend, relative neighbour can make the application on your behalf, using their mobile device or computer, but we can only pay the money into your bank account.
If you have no access to the internet and no-one to help you please ring us on 0121 464 7000 option 3 and we will help you. Please note that this may delay your application as we will still need you to provide some evidence.
Test and Trace Enquiries and Complaints Service
A new Test and Trace Enquiries and Complaints Service has been launched as part of the governments (DHSC) wider 119 telephony service. Members of the public can now call NHS Test and Trace to discuss any enquiries, complaints or self-isolation disputes and receive support
Will those who are shielding be eligible for the ‘Test and Trace Support’ payment?
Yes, provided you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace and meet the other eligibility criteria.