What the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is
The government has set up a Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.
We've also a limited discretionary fund to help those most at risk of suffering financial hardship as a result of self-isolating.
The government hopes the support payments will:
- Help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period.
- Encourage you to get tested if you have symptoms.
- Help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further restrictions.
The scheme is available from Monday, 28 September 2020 – Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
You can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation start date.
Test and Trace Support Payment (main scheme): people in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if you each meet all the following criteria:
- You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace service, either because you've tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive on or after Monday, 28 September 2020. You must also have an 8 digit number from NHS Test and Trace to be eligible.
From 8 March 2021, you're a parent or guardian who has not been told to self-isolate but has to stay off work to look after a child who is self-isolating. This only applies to one adult whose child is self-isolating because they've been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A child is someone aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under if they've an Education, Health and Care plan.
- From 10 December 2020, you can apply if you're identified as a contact through the NHS COVID-19 app. Please follow the instructions on the app to request an NHS Test and Trace ID number which you'll need to apply for this test and trace payment. You'll need to have the latest version of the app installed to request an ID number.
- You must have followed all the instructions given to you by NHS Test and Trace and have given them all the information they’ve requested. Instructions may be contained in a text, email or phone call from NHS Test and Trace.
- You're employed or self-employed.
- You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
- You or your partner currently receive at least one of the following 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.
Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment: if you're not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits, you may be able to receive a £500 discretionary payment if you meet all the other above criteria and all of the following criteria:
- Your total savings you and your partner have are less than £6,000. This includes all bank accounts, shares and bonds.
- Your normal household income is low. This includes all wages, benefits and pension payments for you and your partner and any income you may have lost while not working.
Low income for this discretionary payment is defined in the following table.
|Single adults with no dependent children||Less than £315.39||Less than £1,366.67|
Couples and single parents||Less than £442.31||Less than £1,916.67|
You may also be eligible if you meet all the criteria but are not yet in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits as you're waiting for the outcome of a claim from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Any of the criteria for the discretionary payment may change if demand is significantly more or less than expected.
You're not entitled to a support payment if any of the following apply:
- You were told to self-isolate before Monday, 28 September 2020, even if your self-isolation period continues after Monday, 28 September 2020.
- You haven't been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service and are not looking after a child who is self-isolating. This includes if you've returned to the UK from abroad
or you've been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19 but you haven't been named as a close contact.
- You can work from home or will continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate.
- If you are self-isolating and later find out you were eligible for a benefit that would have qualified you for the Test and Trace Support Payment as you cannot make a retrospective claim.
What you'll get
If you're eligible, you'll receive a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you currently receive.
How you're paid
The £500 will be paid directly into your bank account. If you're applying on behalf of someone else, it must be paid into a bank account in the name of the person for whom the application is being made.
How to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment
You can claim a support payment each time you're told to self-isolate, as long as you're eligible and your self-isolation periods don't overlap with a previous self-isolation period.
Before making a claim:
- Please check the criteria for the main scheme to ensure you use the correct form.
- You should only complete the Discretionary Test and Trace Support form if you aren't eligible for the main scheme.
You can only qualify for payment from one of the schemes.
We're here for you if you've other worries or concerns about money or your health and wellbeing. Our helpline can provide advice, access to essential supplies and signposting to appropriate services and groups in your local community.
Receiving payment when not entitled
We have the right to recover any payments made, if we discover a claim has been made fraudulently.