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Test and Trace Support Payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been introduced to help residents to self-isolate, who may have previously struggled to self-isolate due to financial constraints.

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum.

+ Changes to self-isolation requirements from 16 August 2021

From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. This will mean that fully vaccinated contacts are ineligible for Test & Trace Support Payments from 16 August 2021 (unless they test positive, at which point they would become eligible).

From this date, anyone under 18 & 6 months who is a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. This will mean that most parents and guardians will be ineligible for Test & Trace Support Payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate. As children who have tested positive will still be required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians may still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child).

+ Updates to Self-Isolation Exemptions from 30 November 2021

From 30 November 2021, all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as their age or vaccination status.

This means the following groups may be eligible for TTSP if they meet the criteria:

  • people who are fully vaccinated who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant;
  • people taking part in workplace daily contact testing schemes who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant;
  • a parent or guardian of a child who is a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

+ Daily rapid testing for COVID-19 contacts launches 14 December 2021

From 14 December 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take an NHS rapid lateral flow device (LFD) test every day for seven days to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The new guidance aims to reduce pressures on people’s everyday lives by replacing the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for ten days, while protecting the public by identifying asymptomatic cases and stopping the chains of transmission.

Anyone identified as a contact with a negative rapid lateral flow result is strongly advised to limit close contact with other people outside their household, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces and with anyone who is more vulnerable. They should also follow government guidance on wearing a face covering and working from home where possible.

Unvaccinated adults are not eligible for this new daily testing policy, they must self-isolate for ten days if they are a contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 – Omicron or not – unless eligible for an existing workplace daily contact testing.

+ Changes to Isolation rules from 22 December 2021

From 22 December, the rules regarding self-isolation have changed. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate. However, you can now take a lateral flow device test (LFD) on day six and day seven of your isolation period, these must be at least 24 hours apart. If they are both negative and you do not have a high temperature, you will be released from isolation on day seven. This replaces the previous 10-day self-isolation period.

If either of these tests are positive, you must continue to isolate.

+ Changes in requirements following a positive LFT from 11 January 2022

From 11 January 2022 in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive LFD test result should report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test.

After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate.

However, people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, to enable them to access financial support.

LFT requirements.

+ Updates to Self-Isolation from 17 January 2022

From 17 January, people can leave isolation at the start of day six provided they test negative on day five and day six and do not have a temperature.

People who are still positive on their lateral flow tests must stay in isolation until they have had two consecutive negative tests taken on separate days.

 

Who will be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (and they have been given a unique eight digit reference number), either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • from 10 December 2020, if you are told to self-isolate through the NHS COVID-19 app you will also be able to get the eight-digit reference number needed to claim – see rule change as of 16 August above and see instructions to follow if you have been asked to self-isolate
  • from 8 March 2021, if you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, because they have tested positive for covid 19, you can apply for a Test & Trace Support Payment (or Discretionary Payment). This is providing you need to take time off work to care for a child or young person and you meet all of this criteria – see rule change as of 16 August above and view guidance for parents and guardians;
  • be employed or self-employed;
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • be 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.

If you fit all the criteria listed above but you are NOT in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for the Test & Trace Discretionary Payment Scheme.

View our guidance on the Test and Trace Standard Scheme [pdf] 282KB.

Test and Trace Discretionary Payment Scheme 

The council has set out the following additional requirements:

  • You must be over 18
  • Your normal average weekly gross earnings must not be above £500pw
  • If you are responsible for mortgage payments or you pay rent to a landlord, then your application can be considered if your normal weekly earnings are above £500pw gross
  • Your normal average weekly gross earning must not be below £80pw
  • Your capital must not be more than £3000 (money in all bank accounts, savings, current accounts, joint accounts, shares, 2nd properties owned etc all count as capital)
  • If you meet all of the criteria and you are waiting to hear the outcome of your claim for one of the qualifying benefits listed for the main Test & Trace Support Payment scheme, you may be eligible for the discretionary scheme
  • If you are usually excluded from the qualifying benefits by the “persons from abroad” provision within the welfare benefit schemes, as long as you meet all of the other criteria listed, you may be eligible for the discretionary scheme
  • In all cases you will need to demonstrate that having to isolate has caused you financial hardship. Please explain the bills that you are responsible for and, where possible, provide evidence of the bills leaving your bank account

To claim under the discretionary scheme you need to complete the same form as for the main Test & Trace Support Payment. If you are not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, we will automatically go on to consider your eligibility for the discretionary scheme.

The council will carry out post payment checks. If your wages did not drop, you will be required to repay the £500 Test & Trace Support Payment. If you are unsure if you will get paid during your isolation period, please check with your employer before making a claim.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are employed, 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 will need to report the payment on your self-assessment tax return

View our guidance on the Test and Trace Discretionary Scheme [pdf] 316KB.

Who is not eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

You will not be eligible for the 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 Self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched (28 September 2020).
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.

How do I apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

If you have problems completing the online form, please call our customer services team and they can register your interest for you 01233 331111.

The evidence you will be asked to provide will be:

  • A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number);
  • A bank statement; and
  • Proof of employment, or, 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.

Please also provide the following information to enable the quick processing of your application:

  • Your name, address and national insurance number;
  • Your phone number in case we need to contact you regarding your application.

What am I required to do?

If you receive a Self-Isolation Payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

Visit the NHS Test and Trace website for more information.

For more information about your data protection rights please see our Covid-19 Self Isolation Payment Scheme Privacy Notice.

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