Test and Trace Support Payment

Test and Trace Support Payment

If you've been told to self-isolate, you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment. From the 8th March 2021 the Test and Trace support payment is being extended for parents or guardians who need to take time off work to look after a child or young person who must self-isolate.

From 16th August 2021 you are no longer required to self-isolate if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID 19 and you are fully vaccinated. This means that if you, or if applying for your child, your child has not tested positive you will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment.

There is a legal duty on people to self-isolate if someone tests positive or is identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace and has not been fully vaccinated. If we suspect that you are not self-isolating we will pass this information onto the police who may issue a fixed notice and you will also be required to pay the funds back.

If you're on a low income and cannot work during self-isolation or because your child or young person needs to self-isolate, you may be able to access a lump sum Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, which will be paid directly into your bank account.

Please be advised if you are isolating or in quarantine as a result of travelling abroad, you will not be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment, unless you are later told to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace, as a result of testing positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and you are not fully vaccinated.

This payment is subject to tax, but you will not be taxed at the point of payment and will be contacted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at a later date.

The scheme will run from the 28th September 2020 to the 30th September 2021.

When to make a claim

You can only make a claim for the support payment if you have been asked to self-isolate on or after the 28th September 2020 up until the 31st March 2022. 

You can make a claim up to 42 days from the start of your period of self-isolation. We are unable to accept applications made after this point.

Each application is for one person only and any further applications within the same household must be made by each individual. Only one parent or guardian can claim for the child or young person who is self-isolating.

Are you eligible?

For isolation periods starting from 16th August 2021 to be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • You have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are not fully vaccinated.
  • You have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which they provided their contact details and where they have tested positive, the details of their contacts
  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • You are currently receiving one or more of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit.
  • You live in the borough of West Lancashire (if you don’t live in West Lancashire borough, you must apply to your own local authority).

If you do not receive one of the qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for a discretionary payment. You can find eligibility requirements for this further down on this page.

To be eligible as the parent of a child under 15 or a young person 25 or under with an Education Health Care Plan, you must meet all of the above criteria except you do not need to have been asked to self-isolate, or to engage with the contact tracing process.

In addition, your child/young person must have been asked to self-isolate via the NHS or by the education or caring establishment they attend.  

You can also apply as the parent or guardian of a young person aged 18-25 who has an Education Health Care Plan, who has been identified as a close contact of someone tested positive to COVID-19 and who are not themselves fully vaccinated.

Supporting information

You will need to provide evidence to support your claim, which may include:

  • Notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this should include a unique 8-digit ID number)
  • Proof you are claiming a qualifying benefit
  • Proof of your bank account for payment e.g. your most recent bank statement, this must have your name visible
  • Proof of income e.g. a copy of a recent wage slip
  • If you are self-employed, we need to see evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

If you are applying as a parent or guardian:   

  • Proof of the NHS App and the Education Health Care Plan for a young person aged 16-24 
  • Proof from the education or care setting where the child attends that they have been asked to self -isolate, if the isolation period begins before 16th August 2021
  • Checks will be made directly with the education or care setting establishment to confirm that they have been asked to self-isolate.

Not eligible? You may be able to apply for the Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment

If you have met all of the eligibility criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, but do not receive one of the qualifying benefits and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work because you need to self-isolate, or because your child or young person needs to self-isolate then you may be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment.

To apply for West Lancashire Council's Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment, you must complete the normal Test and Trace Support Payment form.

There is no separate form to complete and evidence and information will be gathered to allow you to be considered for both schemes.

Are you eligible for a discretionary payment?

For isolation periods starting from 16th August 2021 to be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • You have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are not fully vaccinated.
  • You have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which they provided their contact details and where they have tested positive, the details of their contacts
  • Are employed or self-employed
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

In addition, the discretionary payment is for people who:

  • Are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
  • Are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating
  • Have no recourse to public funds if they meet the criteria above.

To be eligible as the parent of a child under 15, or young person 25 or under with an Education Health Care Plan, you must meet all of the above criteria except you do not need to have been asked to self-isolate, or to engage with the contact tracing process.

In addition, your child/young person must have tested positive and asked to self-isolate via the NHS and attends an education or care setting.

You can also apply as the parent or guardian of a young person aged 18-25 who has an Education Health Care Plan, who has been identified as a close contact of someone tested positive to COVID-19 and who are not themselves fully vaccinated.

 

You will not be eligible for this scheme if you:

  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period).
  • continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate.
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
  • are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme was launched on 28th September 2020.
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.

 Students

Universities will support their students experiencing hardship during this pandemic. If a university is unable to assist financially, students can apply provided they meet the eligibility criteria - students will not receive a payment under this scheme if they don't meet the criteria.

How to make a claim

After reading the information provided, apply via the online form here

Please note post payment checks will be carried out to prevent fraud and to identify whether you continue to receive income from your employer during the self-isolation period.  If it is established that you have continued to receive full pay whilst self-isolating, we will take action to recover the costs from you.

Backdated payments

If you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and have been told to self-isolate and you fit into the eligibility criteria above, you will qualify for a backdated payment as long you apply within 42 days from the date you are told to self-isolate.

What happens now?

The Government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.
We will review your application and carry out the necessary checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax purposes, and NHS Test and Trace to confirm your self-isolation status.

We will aim to make a payment within three working days of an eligible application being verified.

Privacy notice 

Please read our test and trace support payment privacy notice here

 

FAQs

We understand that the application process can seem complicated. We've compiled a list of queries below that will help with questions you might have.

 

Q: What does 'unable to work from home' mean?

A: ‘Unable to work from home’ means that an applicant has a job that cannot be carried out from home and therefore cannot work from home while self-isolating.

 

Q: How is an education or care setting defined for applications?

A: An education or childcare setting is somewhere that is registered with the local authority where the child would spend most of the weekday during term-time. Schools, nurseries and care settings for 16-25-year-olds with additional support needs are included. Things that are not covered include unregistered childcare providers, informal childcare arrangements, home-schooling and after-school/weekend/holiday activities (e.g. Scouts/Guides, sports clubs, summer camps). This is not an exhaustive list.

 

Q: Are fully vaccinated adults still eligible for the scheme?

A: As of 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means they are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. Fully vaccinated adults who test positive are still required to self-isolate. They are still eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. You can check whether an applicant is fully vaccinated, and whether they have tested positive or been identified as a contact, when you search for them in the Eligibility Checker.

 

Q: Why are most parents and guardians no longer eligible?

A: 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/guardian will no longer need to care for them while they self-isolate, as they can continue to leave home to attend school, college etc. Some people aged 18-25 with EHC Plan (EHC) will still be required to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated. Their parents/guardians may retain eligibility for TTSP if they still need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.

 

Q: Is an application accepted once someone has finished self-isolating?

A: Eligible individuals can make a claim up to six weeks (42 days) after their first day of self-isolation. Local authorities should not accept applications after this point: for example, if someone started their self-isolation period on 1 September 2021, the last day on which they could make a claim would be 13 October 2021.

 

Q: What about third-party applications?

A: Another individual can apply on behalf of the intended recipient; however, the £500 should be paid into a bank account in the name of the person for whom the application is being made. For example, if a son applied on behalf of their mother, the payment would be made into the mother’s bank account.

 

Q:  You're self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms but without a positive test result and haven't been identified as a close contact. Are you eligible?

A: The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people who are required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app, either because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and are not fully vaccinated. It does not cover people who are self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms but who have not tested positive or been identified as a contact. 

 

Additional FAQs for parent and carers:

Q: Can someone claim if they can work from home and look after child​?

A: No this is outside the scope of the scheme​

 

Q: How do we determine a setting is a legitimate setting​

A: Any setting registered with local authority​

 

Q: I have 2 children sent home, but dates overlap - can I make 2 claims? ​

A: No as dates overlap like main scheme only one payment due​

 

Q: I share custody with my ex- partner can we both claim or who should claim​?

A: The person looking after the child for the 10 days should claim child should not be moved between households​

 

Q: What mitigations are in place to stop someone creating their own letter​?

A: The pre/post payment check with schools will confirm child's identity and requirement to self-isolate ​