Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme

  • You will not be eligible to claim a test and trace support payment if you are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

You are not required to self-isolate if you are notified you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated
  • you are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Background

There is a legal duty on all those that test positive for COVID-19 or for those that are not exempt from self-isolation who are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate. Failure to comply will be an offence carrying a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

To support people on low incomes who must self-isolate, cannot work from home and will lose income as a result, the Government has introduced a Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions. The scheme has been extended until 31 March 2022.

Individuals who qualify and meet the criteria will be entitled to a £500 lump sum payable into their bank account. These payments will be subject to income tax but not national insurance contributions. The council will be required to inform HMRC of payments made.

In addition to the main scheme, the Government has also provided guidance and limited funding for a Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme.

Eligibility criteria

Primary eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Scheme has been set by Government, with the option for councils to introduce additional local criteria to determine eligibility in addition to the criteria set out below:

A payment can be considered if an individual:

  • Has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for coronavirus or
  • Have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are not exempt from self-isolation. (This rule came into effect from 16 August 2021)
  • An application form must be submitted within 42 days of the start of their isolation period. 
  • Parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is:
    • is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan) and has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • is aged 18-25, who has been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, is not exempt from self-isolation and has an Education, Health and Care plan.
  • The parent or guardian must be 
    • employed or self-employed
    • Is unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
    • Is 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; and
    • on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating.

Who is not eligible?

Individuals will not be eligible for the scheme if they:

  • Continue to receive full wages while they self-isolate
  • Can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • Began their period of self-isolation before the Self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched (28 September 2020 or in the case of a child or young person 8 March 2021).
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate. OR in the case of a child or young person, they have not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or their education or childcare setting
  • Are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • Are furloughed and their income is less because of this, except if they are furloughed, working part-time and due to self-isolation, they are losing income because they can no longer work part-time.
  • From 16 August 2021, are fully vaccinated and have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive

Local Criteria

  • A low income, for the purposes of the discretionary scheme, is set at an annual income of £25,000 or below. 
  • Individuals who have savings or capital over £6000 will not be eligible
  • Financial hardship will be determined if applicants can demonstrate that they are unable to pay their priority household bills because they have lost 10 days income as a result of self-isolating. Priority bills are mortgage, rent, Council Tax, gas and electricity.
  • Universities have received over £250m for this academic year, in addition to their existing hardship funds, to support students through the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, students will only be considered for an award if they have an underlying entitlement to benefits due to disability or dependent children.

We receive funding from the Government for the discretionary scheme. When the funding is spent, we will no longer be able to make awards, therefore we will monitor the scheme and may change the local criteria to ensure those in most need receive help.

Applications

People who live in Coventry who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be eligible to a self-isolation payment providing they:

Submit an application within 42 days of the start of their isolation period.  Proof of the isolation number alone is not sufficient for a support payment

Apply for a COVID-19 Test and Trace support payment online

Applications will be made online or by telephoning the council on 08085 834333, whereby an officer will assist with the online application.

All applications will require evidence which will be subject to verification before a payment is made. The council has a duty to protect the public purse and prevent and detect fraud.

Appeals

There is no 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 you to make sure that you have an opportunity to provide the necessary evidence to support a successful application

Additional help

If you are not eligible for a payment but need help, find out about our additional help available.

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